Manoj Tiwary made his India debut in February 2008. In close to seven years, he has been given nine ODIs, but even those have been limited to an odd game or two in a series. Forget a full series, he has never played three successive matches.
He would understandably become stressed at the lack of opportunities, but has stopped doing that now, he says. Tiwary no longer worries about India selection when he walks out to bat. He feels he has matured as a person and that it has brought more consistency, as reflected in two centuries and two fifties in his last four List-A innings, the latest being a match-winning 151 off 121 against North Zone in the Deodhar Trophy semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium.
"To be honest with you, I don't carry excess luggage while I go in to bat. Earlier I used to carry lot of baggage," Tiwary said. "I used to think about other people who are watching, I have to impress them, I have to play on the up, I have to play lofted shots like others but over a period of time I have realised what is my game and tried to improve on that. That helped me a lot. I have become more consistent now. No added pressure. I just go out there, watch the ball and play my game."
In the 2006-07 Ranji Trophy final, Tiwary had made a second-innings 94 against Mumbai at the same Wankhede Stadium in the company of Sourav Ganguly, who scored 90. Tiwary said the difference between him then and now was that he had toned down his aggression.
"Earlier I used to be very aggressive, now I have calmed down a bit. Earlier I used to be very short-tempered. I used to get upset about a lot of things, cricket as well as off the field. Earlier I used to throw away my wicket in the middle phase.
"But as you grow older you tend to become more mature, that helped me in my batting as well. I know my game really better than before. The injuries that happened to me also gave me a lot of time to think about my game as a cricketer and also as a person."
Tiwary credited his family for the change in his personality and his game. "I spent a lot of time with myself and my family members have helped me a lot during my injury phase, made me realise what you have to do next, think about yourself, your game. Earlier I used to watch a lot of motivational videos as you all know. That also helped me a lot."
He may not fret over India selection like he used to but he hopes for another chance with the national team, and a decent run. "I hope and I believe that I will get an opportunity and when I get an opportunity, I think it will be a longer rope I guess. I am just hoping and hoping that I get into the team again.
"Whoever is there in the team have also done really well for themselves and have performed at the given stages of their careers. It is very difficult to get into the team nowadays. Everybody scores runs. I wish I could play a lot of matches on wickets provided here, and in Rajkot."