Mumbai v Bengal, Ranji Trophy, Group A November 30, 2012

Rohit and Tiwary's shared goal

Results from Group A will be watched closely in the latest round of the Ranji Trophy, given the difference between seven of the nine teams that are part of it is a maximum of two points. That's the margin that separates Mumbai and Bengal ahead of their clash at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday, and an outright result may trigger a churning in the points table. Not much separates the two protagonists of each side as well, and the sub-plot that is their individual performances will be monitored just as closely as the bigger picture. Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary share much in common as they take on each other, not just as leaders of their respective Ranji teams.

Both have played for India but are at the fringes of the country's Test side; Rohit has been part of the Test squad on two occasions but hasn't earned a cap, Tiwary never; both have hit a century each in the tournament so far. In the middle of a busy home season that includes a major series against Australia next year, and with India's current middle order a cause for concern, the Ranji Trophy's value in pushing their claims for a Test place cannot be overstated.

Rohit and Tiwary admit the desire for a Test place remains at the back of their minds, but as senior members of their respective teams they also admit there is a larger responsibility, something that's prompted them to revisit their individual approach to batting. "When I started I was an aggressive batsman by nature but then I realised I had to curb my instincts because in a days' match, you have to have patience to score big runs," Tiwary said at the Brabourne Stadium on Friday. "It can't just come if you play quickly or take too many risks initially. Being the senior member of the side and a responsible batsman, I try to occupy the crease because all the other batsmen gain a lot of confidence when I am around. It becomes an added responsibility.

Rohit said he was enjoying the responsibility of leading the side in Ajit Agarkar's absence. "It will definitely change my batting responsibilities and approach to the game. I am trying to lead from the front," he said. "I am getting to know the players better and trying to find out how I can extract more out of them. I am trying to make everyone comfortable.

"Added responsibility doesn't mean I will stop playing my shots. If the ball is there to be hit I will go for it. It doesn't change my game at all. But I am more careful now."

Mumbai are yet to win a game outright this season and Rohit wants more consistency from his team. "We failed to get an outright victory in the last three games but I feel our bowlers did a good job," he said. "We played on flat wickets and there wasn't anything for the bowlers. Restricting Rajasthan to 470, I feel, was commendable because they were 270 for 2 on day one. We came back strongly on the second day but they tried their best. I believe we have to be more consistent and if we manage to do that the results will favour us."

Bengal have lost two of their four games, and are without fast bowler Ashok Dinda, who was named Umesh Yadav's replacement in the squad for the third Test against England in Kolkata. "He was judged the best bowler on the domestic circuit and with the way he was bowling, we will definitely miss him," Tiwary said. "But we have a bowler in Shami [Ahmed] who has been bowling really well. He got a hat-trick in the last game, got 11 wickets. Looking at the other bowlers, we have a decent attack. We will play to our strengths and try and attack them."

Tiwary returns to Brabourne Stadium a month after he scored 93 for India A against England XI in their warm-up game ahead of the Test series. "They are the No.2 side in the world, so such an innings gives you a lot of confidence for the following matches. When you face quality bowlers and score against them, that confidence has helped me score even more runs in the few Ranji matches I have played since then."

Tiwary missed Bengal's previous game due to a wrist injury, but has been cleared to play against Mumbai. Rohit hurt his forearm during training on Friday, but will play the game. For what will be the first Ranji game at the Brabourne Stadium this season, the captains were happy with the pitch, which they said had some grass on it and would assist fast bowlers.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nachiket on December 2, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    Rahane is better off as a contender anywhere in the batting line up than tiwary or rohit at the moment. He's got the highest first class average among the contenders and he is simply not getting his chance. Sure enough, rohit and tiwary have to be there in the team. But, it should be rather tiwary ahead of rohit. Simply, because Rohit does not have that temperament. Yuvraj and raina should never be selected for tests again. BCCI simply never invested in real first-class contenders like badri,kaif and now rahane...and keeps on investing in flashy cricketers like raina and yuvi. Look at SA, amla,kallis,smith all r so calm.. Captain dhoni is fond of his friends yuvi and raina and won't give chances to real test materials in test matches. I am big fan of yuvi/raina in odi/t20. Make gambhir/sehwag captain. my line up : sehwag,gambhir,pujara,rahane,kohli,tiwary,parthiv/karthik,two stupid fast bowlers, ashwin/bhajji,ojha! rahane can b made opener later and try rohit in middle

  • Deepak on December 1, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Rohit is suited more for Tests and T20Is, Tiwary for ODIs... The selectors should try out Rohit in Tests instead of judging him by his ODI shortcomings.

  • Tapas on December 1, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    As far as the temperament and attitude is concerned, Manoj Tiwari is well ahead of Rohit Sharma. Tiwari is mostly treated as a tourist in Indian ODI & T20I teams. In last 4 yrs (2008-2012) he has played only 8 ODIs (Avg. 35.85) & 3 T20Is.

    On the other hand, Rohit Sharma got too many chances. He has played 85 ODIs (Avg. 30.84) & 32 T20Is in last 5 yrs, but still remains in emerging & promising player category. His scores in last 5 ODIs are 5,0,0,4,4; in contrast with Tiwari's 11,24,104no, 21,65.

    Tiwari should have been picked for Eden test itself. He has just scored 193 there in his last Ranji match and knows the conditions of Eden very well. He is a brilliant fielder and utility spinner also. Picking him in the Indian Test squad for Eden could be a real 'home advantage' instead of asking for favorable pitch.

  • sam on December 1, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    What shared goal? Both should be playing test cricket for India in place of Tendulkar and Yuvraj. And Karthik should play in place of Dhoni whose keeping has fallen to Parthiv Patel standards.

  • James on December 1, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    Both have lots of talent, but their deficiencies remain despite their advancing years. Its time, they work with their coaches or at the NCA to do justice to their inherent talent. Rohit is such a fine all round player but has sudden lapses in concentration. Tiwary is one of the best players of spin but still jmpslike a teenager when faced with short pitched bowling. Both are good fielders and are assets in the field. If they improve they can provide good middle order options for India- for five to ten years.

  • Ashok on December 1, 2012, 0:15 GMT

    At this time Tiwary has better match temperment to be a Test player. He has been kept in the background for too long. Rohit on the other hand gets into fits & gets out early ehen ever he plays for India. His record in the last few ODIès has been dismal. He got plenty of chances in ODIès only, but failed consistently. Rohit also needs to tighten up his defence & his tendency to play across eith not exactly straight bat in half cock forward defensive push. He got out many times playing the same stroke. Tiwary is a useful leg spinner which he should work on & develop into proper bowler. Rohit is also a useful off spinner. So both are strong contenders for the Indian Test team but need to work seriously on their game to make them that much stronger - Rohit on developing Pujara-like defence & Tiwary on his spinners.I like to see Rahane,Tiwary & Rohit in the India test tesm very soon & wish them the best of luck. These along with Kohli & Pujara will be the Indian batting for next few years!

  • satish on November 30, 2012, 18:23 GMT

    i lov eboth rohit and tiwary both has the chance to play for india in nxt test series one innings will give them test cap but personally i like rohit batting becuse he has that class but tiwary is not that much class plyer i didn't like his battng style... any way this match will decide who to play for india...its Ro vs tiwary

  • aravind on November 30, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    rohit will come back to test team to replace sachin

  • No featured comments at the moment.