England v India, 2nd ODI, Rose Bowl September 5, 2011

Tiwary scrambles to make it in time

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By Monday evening, Manoj Tiwary had taken two domestic flights in little more than a day, and was faced with a long-haul journey to London. Still, he was anything but exhausted. On Sunday Tiwary left for his home town of Kolkata from Bangalore after his BCCI Corporate Trophy match was rained out. He had already heard about Rohit Sharma fracturing his right index finger the previous evening. He sensed he had a chance. The call from the BCCI official came late afternoon, informing him that he was booked on a Monday evening flight from Mumbai to join the Indian squad.

With Sachin Tendulkar being ruled out of the series on Monday, a development which caught even the Indian squad by surprise, there were strong indications from the Indian camp of Tiwary being rushed from Heathrow airport on Monday straight to Southampton to play the match. It might seem cruel on the player but with only six specialist batsmen left in the squad India don't really have much of a choice other than playing five bowlers and going a batsman light.

Nevertheless Tiwary is no stranger to being dashed across continents to join the team at the very last minute. In the 2008 CB Series in Australia, Yuvraj Singh was forced to return home due to knee injury and Tiwary was called in as reinforcement. He reached Brisbane less than 48 hours before the match against Australia, and walked in to face Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson with barely a day's break. It was his debut. The jet lag was evident as he was bowled by a searing Lee yorker for 2.

It took Tiwary three years to make an India comeback, returning during the ODI series in West Indies in June. In his first match of the series, he was played as an opener and once again failed. In the next he batted at his regular No. 4 position but could only muster 22. India lost both matches.

But Tiwary stayed confident. In the Emerging Players tournament in Australia last month he did well in the three-day games, finishing fifth on the run charts with 306 runs from three matches at an average of 76.5 including a highest of 188.

"I made a point to myself to become to be the highest run-getter in the three-day matches as well as in the Twenty20 matches (in the Emerging Players). That was my main motive," Tiwary told ESPNcricnfo, over the phone from Mumbai.

Tiwary said he was lucky that the Indian coach at the Emerging Players tournament Bharat Arun played him as No. 4, his favourite position where he has played through his career. In the previous Emerging Players tournament in 2009, he had batted in the lower middle-order, something that did not allow him to settle down.

Tiwary said setting goals and trying to achieve them has only helped him stay in focus. "Last year the domestic season had gone really well for me. I knew if I had to make a comeback, domestic performances along with the IPL would definitely count. And I got a reward by getting on the West Indies tour followed by the Emerging tournament."

In the Ranji Trophy, Tiwary had an aggregate of 525 runs from seven matches at an average of 75. He even had unbeaten double century (233) and three fifties. In the IPL, his 359 runs was among the reasons for Kolkata Knight Riders reaching the semi-finals.

If he does play on Tuesday, Tiwary would not have much time to think about anything except making sure he has got his protective gear in shape. If the flight is on time, Tiwary will land at 7.40 am and then rush to Southampton, another two-hour drive. "It is a big opportunity to grasp because not every time such opportunities come along and I have a good chance to do well against a good side (England)."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on September 6, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DONT HAVE PACE..ENG WILL BEAT INDIA 4-0 IN ODI'S TOO UNLESS THEY PLAY VARUN AARON MUNAF PRAVEEN ASHWIN..COME ON HOW CANU YOU EXPECT TOP SIDES LIKE AUS,ENG,SA GIF YOU WICKETS WITH 120K'S BOWLERS..U HAVE TO HAVE PACE ABOVE 135-140 IF NOT MORE..WHENEVER INDIA HAVE DONE WELL ABROAD THEY HAD BOWLERS WHO CAN GENERATE PACE LIKE RP USE TO BOWL 140'S ISHANT 140'S BUT NOW BOWLERS LIKE VINAY KUMAR IS USELESS ..ONCE BOWL GET 10 OVERS OL GAME OVER FOR THEM

  • dummy4fb on September 6, 2011, 20:10 GMT

    badrinath the most worst player! he dnt deserve a chance.manoj will be a far better option.jadeja again a waste cozd 2 defeats of India.yusuf pathan wud have been a good choice.

  • InnocentGuy on September 6, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    Match rained out. Tiwary catches on some much needed sleep. End of story.

  • BONG_IN_CHENNAI on September 6, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    DHONI and CHIKA are furious with a (right-handed) PATHAN. Good, at least, they fear one of the cricketers; I wonder, what would have been the state of sir VIV with similar temperaments -0 specifically after failures.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on September 6, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    This ODI series is already looking a lot like the Eng V Sri Lanka test series earlier this year: almost every match lost to rain.

  • dummy4fb on September 6, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    Let's wait and watch about how Tiwary performs despite constraints. till then everything written here is speculation.

  • dummy4fb on September 6, 2011, 10:32 GMT

    with due respect 2 tiwary, i dont think his inclusion/omission will make any difference. i think india better play with five bowlers[3 pacers & two spinners], even for a sake of experiment. the tour has already been a great disaster, so why bother abt the lone oneday series with 4 matches left.when five batsman cant get u runs, sixth one at the most can delay the inevitable, i.e defeat.so dont bother & play some fearless cricket.

  • ks1959 on September 6, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    Injury to Tendulkar is most surprising of all. BCCI, Selectors & Players are equaly responsibe for the mess and should take full blame for the same.

  • dummy4fb on September 6, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Hope to c u in the playing XI after this whirlwind travel efforts..

  • indyarox on September 6, 2011, 9:22 GMT

    I think Jadeja will fit into the team instead of Rohit.

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