'I knew my time would come' - Tiwary
It has been almost two years since Manoj Tiwary last played for India, but the Bengal batsman, who made the 15-man squad for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh, insisted that he had never lost hope during his prolonged period on the sidelines.
He had missed much of the current domestic season due to knee problems, and had injured his back and shoulder in 2012-13.
"Look, when I was out of the squad, it was because of my knee injury and not poor form," Tiwary told PTI. "Just before that I had scored a hundred for India A against Australia. So once I was match fit, I knew my time would come."
Bangladesh, though, invokes mixed feelings for Tiwary. He had made heads turn with a stellar campaign for Bengal in the 2006-07 Ranji Trophy where he scored 796 runs at 99.50, earning a call-up for the 2007 tour of Bangladesh, but a shoulder injury sustained during training delayed his international debut.
"Injuries and Bangladesh invoke strange kind of feeling in me. It was Bangladesh in 2007, where I received a maiden call-up and then had a shoulder dislocation.
"But it is also in Bangladesh that I am making a comeback in the national team. Indeed, life has come a full circle for me with this call-up."
Tiwary did eventually make his first appearance for India in February 2008 against Australia, but after a 15-ball struggle against Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson, he did not play another international game for more than three years. More disappointment would await him, as after collecting his maiden international ton, against West Indies in Chennai, he was once again benched for 14 games.
Tiwary said that his on-off international career had made him mentally stronger. "I have had injuries and I know how to deal with them. I never lost faith in god and he wanted to test my mental fortitude," he said. "I had the support of my wife Sushmita during tough times. I knew I can`t let negative thoughts creep my mind. I love that blue jersey too much to think of anything else. In life and cricket, there are no guarantees. I have to grab each and every opportunity that comes my way.
"Once, I became match fit, the selectors told me that they would keep a tab on my performance. I am thankful to them for having trust in my ability. This is a much-needed opportunity and I would like to give my 200%."