Why this treatment to Manoj Tiwary?

Manoj Tiwary... will he ever get his chances?-PTI ?

Applying different yardsticks for different players has been a feature of Indian cricket in the past which is being continued now as well.

It has been several months since India played West Indies at the M.A.C. Stadium, a one-day match that was highlighted by two contrasting centuries. The century-makers were Kieron Pollard and Manoj Tiwary and incidentally, it happened to be their maiden hundreds. Tiwary’s effort was instrumental in India winning the game but since then, he has been warming the benches in different parts of the world. At this point in time, it will be an achievement of sorts if Tiwary has not lost his onions. Not even the experiments of backing the “right talent” interspersed with “rotation of players” have facilitated the inclusion of Tiwary in the final eleven after that hundred at Chepauk.

The reasons given by the team management do not carry any conviction except that they only indicate that he will have to wait longer for his opportunities. The discerning cannot be faulted for presuming that the team management lacks faith in Tiwary despite its repeated assurances that he will get his chances. If that is the case, the team management might as well make it known to the selection committee. But then, the selectors will obviously have a different take and the team management will have no choice but to have Tiwary in the squad.

I can very well understand the predicament of the team management when it comes to choosing between X and Y but the decision to fall back on the second best option if the fancied player does not deliver cannot be procrastinated. As the coach of Tamil Nadu, I had been in this dilemma a few years ago when I had to make Arun Karthik sit out despite him getting a couple of hundreds in four games, filling in for Badrinath at number three in one particular season.

Unfortunately he had to be benched once Badrinath was back, as the other middle order batsmen had settled in nicely. However, I assured Arun Karthik that he will be slotted at number three the whole of the following season and he did extremely well. In order to give Arun Karthik the number three slot, I had to persuade Badrinath to drop down to number four which he did without batting an eyelid, being the team man that he is.

Coming back to Tiwary, he will be wondering if he will ever get his chances as there is always the danger of him getting bypassed to accommodate someone else. If and when Rohit Sharma is dropped, the automatic replacement has to be Tiwary.

More than my being the coach of the Bengal team, I have gone through the same thing myself and I know that being the bridesmaid is not the most appealing of roles to play.

The detractors of Tiwary may have a point in arguing that he has not scored enough runs in the IPL but he has made some runs in the A tour of West Indies. In the current situation that Tiwary is in, the unfortunate reality is that while good performances may not be necessarily recognised, every failure will be detrimental to him. He is like a mountaineer who is hanging out on his limb from a cliff waiting for a helping hand. He has to muster all the strength he can mentally not to let go till some help comes along lest he crashlands. It remains to be seen when he receives a hand or two to enable him to hoist himself over the cliff.

While one can never be sure of the future, applying different yardsticks for different players has been a feature of Indian cricket in the past which is being continued now as well.