Having acquitted himself well in the limited opportunities he has got at the international level, one would expect Manoj Tiwary to get more chances in the playing XI. But that hasn’t been the case.
While the team management has kept him out of the playing XI on many an occasion, Tiwary has learnt to be patient.
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After scoring 93 for India A against the touring England team, the Bengal batsman said it is his belief and self-confidence that has seen him through every challenge thrown at him.
“I have always strived to give my best in whatever I do and cricket is no different. My journey has never been easy. Challenges have been an integral part of my life right from childhood. I have seen my father struggle when I was growing up and the tough times we faced have really helped me.
“The virtue of patience was never lost on me. No matter how long I have to wait for my opportunity — be it on the field or in various aspects of life off it — my selfbelief and confidence help me out.
“In sports, you don’t always get what you want. Challenging situations are bound to come and the best performers are those who stick at it during the tough times and then cash in when the going is good,” he told Mail Today. Known to be a flamboyant batsman, Tiwary has mellowed down as was evident even on Tuesday.
“I have often been criticised for throwing my wicket away by playing a rash shot after settling down. So I have decided that I must score big hundreds if I have to stake a claim for selection in the Indian team. I try to balance my game and play according to the situation.
“Even today, we were under a little pressure when I came in to bat and I felt I needed to give myself time to settle down and then go on the offensive. The fewer risks you take early in the innings, the better chances you have of scoring big centuries,” he said.
With the Indian middle-order looking unsettled post the retirement of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, Tiwary feels he is ready for the responsibility — especially since he seems to be in sublime form.
“Hundreds are just milestones. It’s more about the mindset that a cricketer is in and I feel if I can keep this mindset, I can definitely score runs at the highest level, even in the longer format. I think I am ready for Test cricket. But it is up to the selectors to decide,” the 26-year-old said.
Tiwary didn’t really set the stands on fire during the recent Champions League T20 in South Africa, but feels it is difficult for middle-order batsmen to score big in T20s.
It’s more about contributing to the team’s cause.
“Be it for my country or my franchise — Kolkata Knight Riders — I have always tried to play according to the demands of the team. And this time too, I had no one to stick it out with me in the first game against Delhi Daredevils. Against Titans I was unbeaten and going in at the end overs, I tried to score as many runs as I could. If you ask me, I flopped in just the match against Auckland,” he said.
Commenting about the opening day’s play against England, Tiwary said: “I was middling the ball and it felt good. Although not getting a hundred did hurt, looking back I must say I enjoyed myself. The England side is known to have a good attack and to help the team reach a respectable position gives me satisfaction.”