Frequent injuries may shatter a player’s confidence but for Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary, they have made him strong and mature. Tiwary is the best example of a player done in by bad luck. Untimely injuries and unending wait on the bench almost pushed him to obscurity. But strong performances in domestic cricket and a fruitful IPL 10 reveals his gritty nature and a knack of challenging the odds.
“Injuries have been a major part of my career. In 2008, when I got picked for the Bangladesh tour, I got injured a day before the game. It was a shock for me and affected me both physically and mentally. I was young and had no control over my emotions and cried a lot. Later, I injured my shoulder after a dive and missed the series against Pakistan,” Tiwary told HT.
The 31-year-old, who played an important role for RPS in the IPL, says injuries alone can’t be blamed. “When I wasn’t injured, I did not get enough chances. So when people don’t see me play, they say he might be injured. At times I would think I deserve a chance this season but I was not picked,” he said.
One thing that didn’t change was his consistent performance on the domestic circuit. For years, he has been a workhorse for Bengal. He scores runs and makes sure he remains relevant. Under his captaincy and brilliant form, East Zone won the Deodhar Trophy and Bengal played the Vijay Hazare Trophy final. On a comeback trail, he knew cashing in on every opportunity could help his case.
“It is difficult to make a comeback as our country is brimming with talent. So when somebody gets injured, a lot of performers stake claim. Competition is very tough. You have to keep performing, wait for a player to fail and hope the selectors look your way,” Tiwary said.
Tiwary last played for India in 2014. He had to sit out for 14 games after scoring his only hundred.
“It has been mentally very tough and tiring. I spent eight months in shoulder rehab, one year in knee rehab. Anybody who comes back from rehab returns a mentally strong player. There are a set of three-four exercises which you have to repeat every day. That is very boring and if you are not mentally strong, it becomes difficult. It takes a lot of mental strength to keep doing them,” Tiwary added.
Injuries have made Tiwary philosophical too. “I have been unlucky in terms of selection, not getting games, but I have been lucky enough to reach where I am. Whenever I get injured, I think about the handicapped people, the problems they face. I compare myself with them and think that I am a lot better off,” he said.
So now the question is whether his consistent performances, including in IPL, will be remembered by the national selectors when they next meet to pick a squad for limited-over series. Although selectors could be reluctant to pick an injury-prone player, Tiwary’s character and mental strength may be hard to overlook.
“After a good domestic season and IPL, I hope selectors give me a chance. I hope I get a chance to play for India A to start with,” Tiwary said.