Right-handed batter Manoj Tiwary has been a servant of Bengal cricket for a very long time, however his dream to win the Ranji Trophy once again ended in disappointment this year as the Abhimanyu Easwaran-led side were defeated by Madhya Pradesh in the semi-finals. However, Tiwary’s determination stood out as he hit centuries in the quarterfinals against Jharkhand and then in the first innings of the semi-finals against Madhya Pradesh.
It is important to note that Tiwary is a sitting MLA of Trinamool Congress from Shibpur constituency in West Bengal and also the West Bengal’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, and to go with that he chooses to be an active cricketer. Tiwary spoke to NDTV at length about his dual roles, and how he manages to navigate through them smoothly. He also opened up on what keeps him going in India’s domestic tournament.
“It is all about willpower and time management (when asked how he manages to navigate through ministry work and playing cricket). The team that I have created in my constituency and all the party workers understand how to go about work. All the paperwork gets delivered to my hotel when I am playing cricket. In the morning I play cricket, and then in the evening, I sign that paperwork and send it back by courier. Sports Ministry is one ministry where I am the Minister for Sports, there is one Minister in charge, so he takes care of things,” Tiwary told NDTV over the phone.
“My team members are very helpful, I am available on the phone during the night so if there is an emergency, all the setup is there. I believe in preparation and if you do well in that, anything can be managed. It was a challenge for me, but I have been able to fulfill it so far. You can do it if you stay focussed,” he added.
When asked whether he has been distracted in his cricket due to the ministry work, Tiwary said: “No, it has not ever happened (laughs). When I am playing cricket, I do not think about politics and vice versa. If I end up doing that, I do not think it would be fair.”
After registering a ton against Madhya Pradesh in the first innings of the Ranji Trophy semi-final, Tiwary celebrated in style as he displayed a handwritten note for his family. Speaking about that, he said: “I have come to know that it has gone viral on social media (laughs). The mindset was, in life, our wives do so much for us and they make so many sacrifices, we always tend to take it for granted. It is human nature, but this should not be the case.”
“It was an expression of love towards my wife. I am a cricketer and I am in politics as well. She is taking care of the household; I have a child as well who is just 4 years old. She is taking care of everything . It is a thankless job, I felt that I should express it, generally, I do not do these kinds of celebrations on the field but I just felt that I should show the world how much I love her.”
Talking about what keeps him going in terms of playing cricket and what his motivation is, Tiwary said: “My motivation is to help Bengal win the Ranji Trophy. It is my dream to be Ranji Trophy champions. I have played in the final three times but every time we have been the runners-up. I want to be the champion, since the time I am playing cricket, my dream has always been to win the Ranji Trophy. When you know there are not many chances of you making a comeback for Team India, then you always think that you want to be the Ranji Trophy champion, it always stays with you as a cricketer. More importantly, it is about giving the people of Bengal a gift of winning the Ranji Trophy.”
“You always feel disappointed because we lost in the semi-finals. But this is the nature of the game. You win some, you lose some. In the semi-finals, we lost five wickets for 50 runs, we made a comeback from there. I and Shahbaz Ahmed scored centuries but it was not meant to be. Our team is very good, but sometimes even after having a good team, you are not able to execute on the day it matters,” he added.
Tiwary has represented India 12 ODIs and 3 T20Is.
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