Sri Lanka v India, only Twenty20, Pallekele August 6, 2012

Tiwary reveals difficult bench days


No one expected Manoj Tiwary to walk in for the pre-match press conference ahead of the solitary Twenty20 international. Once he arrived, it was to be expected that he would be asked more questions about how he handled his long spell on the bench than about tomorrow's game. Tiwary did not disappoint. He spoke frankly but not bitterly, clearly but not with hurt. He spoke about how difficult a time it was, how he had kept himself motivated by watching videos of other sportspersons, and how, on getting two chances after 14 games, he had made them count with a half-century in the fifth ODI.

"It was not very easy when I got an opportunity to play after sitting out for so many days," Tiwary said. "My focus was on how I can improve my game during practice sessions and be ready since I knew that someday I will get a chance to play. The effort was to maintain a good mindset. It is not always easy [to do that]."

Tiwary used the word "mindset" a lot, saying that his focus was on being in the proper frame of mind. He could have easily lost his confidence after being ignored in favour of Rohit Sharma, despite the latter's lack of runs, despite the former's century in his previous ODI before this series.

"Those who play in the first XI get more practice during the practice sessions so at that time it is a bit difficult to maintain your mindset," Tiwary said, and got a surprised stare from the team's media manager, as if he had let out a state secret. "It is important to be ready because these days the competition is so much that the moment you get an opportunity you have to grab it. I used to always focus on maintaining the right frame of mind and not lose my self-confidence and self-belief during that process. That was the preparation and the self-belief that helped me perform.

"Whenever I think about all these things like not playing, not getting an opportunity despite scoring a hundred I just analyse myself [and] as the days pass by you tend to improve mentally and you get experienced. When you look around, when you travel with the Indian team, sit with them, when you follow so much of cricket with so many things happening in front of you, you know how to deal with situations each day."

Tiwary had to keep himself motivated through each day of practice, through each day spent travelling around the globe without knowing when he would get a game. "My family has been supportive of me and my coach and some friends as well. I watch a lot of motivational videos from all sports and by looking at them I do get pumped up at times and it keeps my mind in the right frame. I always wanted to contribute to the team in the way other athletes around the world have in tough situations."

When the opportunity finally came, he found himself walking into tough situations as well. India were 60 for 3 and 87 for 3 when Tiwary came in, and on both occasions, he did not let the innings meander, making 21 off 38 and 65 off 68. He could not have been faulted had he batted for his place in the XI, but, to his credit, he didn't.

"The mindset was to stay positive. When a player is playing after a long time there is pressure to perform and plus the situation on the ground and the conditions [have to be taken into account] so you have to build the innings accordingly. I had it at the back of my mind that no matter what, I have to play according to the situation and if I get out while playing positively then no problem. The team and its requirement come first."

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    Manoj tiwari shold be given chance to play in the main XI in the test serieses, he has waited for too long, talent is of no use when not shown at the right time, its the performance that should be considered and given importance over talent!!

  • Amit on August 8, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    I am tired of hearing 'No one should question Rohit's talent' or 'talented Rohit Sharma'…he has been given enough chances to prove his talent and has been a consistent failure barring a series or two. The real talent is to score runs and all the talent NOHIT has got is to look elegant while playing shots. All Nohit Sharma is a cheap imitation of Inzamam-ul-Haq. Looks shiny and tempting; but, fails to work.

  • yogi on August 8, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    The big question is " can he play real fast bowling on green pitches?" He appears very cool headed,fine, but is he really good outside his comfort zone?

  • vikram on August 7, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    i guess dropping and picking policy of team management should be changed...instead of giving one player 50+ chances and another player 1-5 chances, they should give 10 chances to a preferred player and at least 3 chances to not so preferred player to make comparison...this test can be repeated for 2-3 times and if no player is able to give a standout performance both players should be changed.....i think after testing player for 100 chances without any standout performance he becomes liability and very hard on a benched players and that is happened with r jadeja, r sharma, pathan bros, raina and more...

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    India should give chance to Sohrab Tiwary as well, he is also promising youngster and great fighter.

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    Manoj really a far better player than Rohit in terms of consistency. In any sport result is important rather than how much talent you have. it doesn't have any sense if you have a immense talent but fail to prove. MSD tried his best to save Rohit it doesn't help much to both Indian team as well as Rohit. Rohit needs to go back to first class level prove something before he gave another opportunity.

  • Rudrajit on August 7, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    I don't think anyone in the history of Indian cricket has been given as many chances as Rohit. I agree that Rohit has the talent and looks good playing shots too, but in the international arena you need hardwork and mental strength, of which Rohit has none. This actually proves that regionalism is still rampant in India. Poor selection policy.

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    Rohit is not in the good form but one should not question his ability. No other cricketer has scored 21 runs (3 TIMES) in the last over and win the match for his team. I have never seen any Indian dominating Australian bowling attack comprising (Tait, Nannes, Watson and Johnson) like rohit did in T20 world cup match on BOUNCY West Indian pitches. In first T20 world cup, he scored valuable 50 runs against SA in the match which was a knockout game. Also in the T20 world cup final against pakistan, he scored 30 runs in the last 2 overs & took india to 158.

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    Manoj Proved him In batting, Bowling and also fielding...:) He know the worth of Opportunity now.. But its a time for Rohit Sharma to know the worth of Opportunity.. He must sit in the bench in every tour and bring cool drinks for Manoj..

  • Daljit on August 7, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    What team management is talking about talent & talent of Rohit...what you would with talent only when you get 5 consecutive games in a series and a chance to score a century in every match with the kind of overs left, and then scored only 14 runs in 5 innings. He feels like an only talented player in India who can't be replaced (as suggested by Indian Team management). Why to give a player so many chances in international stage when there are so many players are waiting to get a single chance to prove themselves. If they would give another chance to Rohit in T20 also, then he would never learn from his mistake and can never improve his game. So, give chances to some new players who has played well in IPL instead of Rohit. Let him make his own way to return to Indian team not a cakewalk like this series.

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