India’s middle-order woes? I can be the answer: Manoj Tiwary
Manoj Tiwary, who had a great Indian Premier League for Rising Pune Supergiant, feels that he can be an effective answer to the lean patch that India’s middle-order is currently going through as a unitcricket Updated: Jul 19, 2017 08:51 IST
For a sportsperson, getting injured on the eve of his/her debut is a hard pill to swallow. And when a searing yorker from Brett Lee leaves you with no answer on your India debut, life seems to get tougher.
Since stepping into the international arena in 2008, Manoj Tiwary has played just a handful of ODIs, due to injuries and an unending wait on the bench. But 2017 is proving to be a good one for the 31-year-old Bengal batsman. The performances have come at the right time and his luck is perhaps changing for the better. In a freewheeling chat with Hindustan Times, Tiwary spoke on topics ranging from his show in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to his hopes of representing India in the longest format of the game.
How significant was the last year in your career, especially the 2016/17 Ranji season?
I believe I had a good season last year in Ranji trophy, in fact across all formats, considering the fact Bengal played most of its games in the North Zone venues where conditions are tough for the batters. And not to forget we didn’t play a game against Gujarat due to smog in Delhi, which in a way hampered our chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
In IPL 2017, you played an important role for Rising Pune Supergiant in their run to the final. How did you adapt to the team’s demands? Did you change anything about your game given the fact that you batted mostly down the order?
Yes, IPL 2017 went really well. Let me first take this opportunity to thank Mr Goenka and the RPS team management for showing faith in me and my cricketing abilities. Without their support, I wouldn’t have been able to showcase my worth as a player. Adaptation was the key for my performance last year because I had a difficult role to play in the team.
My role was to bat at No 4 if quick wickets fall, and if not, I would shift down the order which is quite understandable because we had powerful middle order players. So I had to plan my innings according to the situation of the game. Also, before coming to IPL this season I had told myself that no matter what I will play at a brisk strike rate. At last, I’m happy to have contributed in my team’s success last year.
Twelve ODIs in nine years. In your sixth, maiden century, and then you are benched. What has gone wrong?
To be honest, I don’t have any answer.
India’s middle-order in ODIs has been a bit shaky for quite some time now. The bulk of the scoring has been done by the top-order, by the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Do you think you can be the answer to India’s middle-order woes?
Yes, I believe so. I have done well over the years and shown tremendous consistency. It’s about getting that opportunity now.
Despite solid performances in Ranji and IPL, you didn’t get a place in the India ‘A’ squad for the South Africa tour. Do you think sometimes the selectors have been unfair to you?
Well, you got to ask this question to the selectors because what they are thinking matters the most. As a player we can only perform out there in the middle.
There has been some criticism of your RPS teammate and India’s most successful skipper, MS Dhoni, that he should retire. Your thoughts?
I would say he still has a lot left in him. And knowing him, he will retire on his terms and in his own way. For example, we have seen how he retired from Test cricket. So, let’s just leave it to him to decide when he wants to call it quits.
You average 52.00 in first-class cricket. With such tough competition from the likes of Karun Nair, Akhil Herwadkar, Shreyas Iyer and Priyank Panchal, do you still think you can make it to the Indian Test squad?
Yes, I believe I will make it to the Test team in future. I’ve full faith in my ability and my game. Also, I have been playing first-class cricket for quite some time and the statistics are there to prove it. I don’t see any of them (Nair, Herwadkar, Iyer and Panchal) as competition. I would love to keep performing and help my team reach heights across all formats. The rest, I leave it to destiny.
What’s your take on IPL 2018? We might have new teams, all players will go under the hammer.
I feel good about IPL 2018 because I’m looking forward to it. Auction is such a special occasion for everyone. There is so much unpredictability in it and that makes it special.
First Published: Jul 19, 2017 08:42 IST