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Manoj Tiwary: Adding to India’s bench strength.

by Gaurav Sethi

Forget Day and Night Test cricket, if ever there’s Bench Cricket, Manoj Tiwary will be its patron saint. Yesterday though, he played against England, not for India of course, but for India A. Till yesterday, Manoj did not feature in the No. 6 debate.

Then he went and scored 93. Appears Manoj is now alert to the needs of India’s selectors. A one-day hundred did not cut it for him, so he stopped 7 shy this time.

Imagine being Manoj Tiwary and staying sane at the same time. He says he watches inspirational videos. I say he should just watch himself on the bench. That for me is something, really is – the man looks composed, a lot less fidgety than many of his mates do, on the field and on the bench.

But you will be told, and you will be told, repeatedly – Rohit Sharma has talent, Suresh Raina trains to finish the game and Yuvraj Singh is back.

For now, Rohit is a T20 special, who blocks that slot regardless of runs. One innings blocks it for many more, he did score a 50 in the ICC world T20, didn’t he? And via that route, Rohit elbows his way into the one day side.

His lack of scores are a mystery, demanding he return to the one day side, and continue to not score on merit and confound this mystery.

If anything, the selectors and team management are screwing Rohit over. If they had let him go, either before or after that wretched Lanka ODI series, that nauseating feeling of a wrong entitlement would not have continued to hound him.

You always gotta pay more for excess baggage.

 Instead, Rohit returns, much like a Batman sequel, plot-less. His mind and feet are crying out to be released – to return to first class cricket. By now we owe a first class tourney to be renamed after India’s and yes, Mumbai’s most illustrious future cricketing son – call it the Sachin Tendulkar says Rohit will be the next Sachin Tournament. Anything less will be not worthy.

Then there is Suresh Raina. Everywhere I go, Raina tells me that he trains to finish the game. That must be IPL games, and the occasional T20 and one day game for India. I do not recall Raina finishing, leave alone starting a Test (game) for India. But that is Adidas’ clout on those billboards, they even chased me in Goa.

Raina is the India A skipper, yet again via the IPL, T20, and to a lesser extent the one day route. So much entitlement, so many soundbytes – Raina will tell you why he wants to play against England, to give back some of the pain – to whom, to us fans? 

"Well of course"

And Yuvraj Singh. I think they rushed him back for the World T20. But Yuvraj in spite of his lack of Test success is now more than ever before, a force of nature, one that appears to defy nature. That doesn’t make sense maybe, just like rushing him back to the team may not. But Yuvi returned, batted, bowled, fielded – and Indian cricket desperately needed a story, its champions are either retired or withered, shielding against allegations far more than the cricket ball.

And what is Manoj Tiwary in front of all these supermen – he has no story. He just sits on the bench, match after match after match. If he had one, does anyone know, or care to know of it?

He was picked to debut against Bangladesh years’ ago, but an injury on match eve ruled him out. That wasn’t long before Rohit or Raina’s time.

Manoj does bowl though, leg spin. Chances are, if India ever picks him again, it could be for his bowling. Because nobody seems to have seen him bat.

As I write, Yuvi has knocked over KP and Bell. Enter India’s third spinner for the first Test.

If you give a sh*t about Manoj Tiwary, pls do LIKE the Facebook page - Bencho! It's Manoj Tiwary 

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