Indian cricket has been blessed with match-winners and several batting and bowling greats over the years. Time and again, each era has witnessed a stand out player with both bat and ball. After the Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev era, people wondered whether the next generation would have that meat. And in came Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and so on. Once their time was up, the world saw the emergence of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and other rise to the occasion. Each era of the Indian team has been fortunate to have world-class players, right up there with the best international cricket has to offer.
However, at the same time, certain players, full of talent and ability, cannot quite make it. The likes of Amol Mazumdar, Ranadeb Bose were standout cricketers, but for some reason couldn’t an India call-up. Similarly, there was also players who despite performing well, had their India run cut short., one of whom is Manoj Tiwary.
Having made his debut in 2008, Tiwary would go on to play 12 ODIs and three T20Is for India scattered across seven years and eight different series. He scored his maiden century for India in December of 2011 but had to wait for another seven months to get his next opportunity. Tiwary’s India career was filled with several ‘what could have been’ possibilities but the former batter has no regrets. He does however feels that had he played under the current management, the scenario and the way his career panned out could have been a whole lot different.
“The current management that is backing the players despite failing in 4-5 matches, had it been there when I was playing, it would have helped me because if you remember, I was scored a 100 against West Indies and was named Man of the Match. And still got dropped for the next 14 matches, couldn’t make a place in the Playing XI. It is still a mystery. This question I will definitely ask those who were in charge back then,” Tiwary told Sports Tak.
“In this too, I made a world record. Barring me, there wouldn’t be a player who despite winning Man of the Match, was made to sit for the next 14 matches. After that, when I played, I picked up 4 wickets, and scored 65 runs and still did not get many chances. When you mature, you don’t regret it much. Although I do feel sad at times – when you see a player batting you think I had more potential. If I had gotten more chances, I would have proven myself.”
Tiwary added that if he had gotten the chance to play under Rahul Dravid, he would have certainly benefitted a lot. Acknowledging the current management’s practice of backing players more and for longer periods, Tiwary gave the example of Rishabh Pant, explaining how few highs and lows do not determine the quality and class of a cricketer.
“Had this management been there in my time, I would have gotten a lot more opportunities. You look at the players and you know they are playing freely and not out of fear of losing their place in the team. Irrespective of whether the wickets and runs are coming, the management is backing them. It feels good to see it because I have always felt that 4 innings don’t make or break a player,” mentioned Tiwary.
“If the management has decided that yes, this player has the potential to win a match at any point of time. Like recently, people pointed fingers at Rishabh Pant that he is not consistent enough, but Rahul Dravid made it clear that he is a part of India’s broader plans and is going to win us matches.”