Manoj Tiwary can bat. If anyone had forgotten that, he served a reminder on Monday.
His 303 not out against Hyderabad in Bengal’s Ranji Trophy match ought to be one of the finest innings of the season. The timing, the gorgeous drives, the clean hits over the rope, the solid technique, the ability to shift gears effortlessly — it was a brilliant display of batsmanship.
After watching him, you would have agreed with Bengal coach Arun Lal’s words at the end of the second day’s play at the Bengal Cricket Academy Ground. “He should have played many more games for India,” said the former Test opener.
Tiwary has played 12 ODIs and three T20Is. The last time he sported the coveted blue shirt was in 2015.
His finest hour had come four years earlier. He had made 104 (retired hurt) against the West Indies in Chennai and was Man-of-the-Match in India’s 34-run victory.
But he wasn’t selected for the following 14 matches. True, the problem with India’s batting is one of plenty, still a batsman of his calibre deserved a better deal. He may be 34, but his batting looks in supreme touch. And he is quite fit.
“Right now the way the Indian team is, it is difficult,” said Tiwary, who has 8,752 first-class runs at an average of 51.79, with 27 hundreds. “But you never know what’s going to happen.”
The triple hundred, he said, was the best innings of his life after the ODI hundred. “The thought of a making a triple had crossed my mind after many people messaged me at the end of the second day (when I was 156 not out),” he said. “I want to thank my personal coach Manabendra Ghosh, who has always helped improve my skills.”
He said he didn’t regret that he could not get enough time to have a go at the record for the highest score by a Bengal batsman. Devang Gandhi had made 323 against Assam in 1998-99.
“I will have my chances later,” said Tiwary smiling. “Let him [Devang] be happy now.”
Like his batting form, his sense of humour too is very much intact.
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