Five days after calling it quits, senior Bengal batter Manoj Tiwary officially announced the rescission of his retirement. In a bid to realise his childhood dream of winning the Ranji Trophy, he said he will play one final season.
Netizens on Thursday woke up to a long post on Manoj’s Instagram where he brought the curtains down on a 19-year-long professional career. The 37-year-old conceded that he suddenly felt blank and his emotions got the better of him.
“Basically, I’m an emotional person. And a phase sometimes comes when you’re suddenly blank. People take a lot of decisions on emotions and this was one such for me. But after realisation hit me and I was convinced by people, I am coming out of retirement today for one last year for Bengal. Bengal cricket has given me everything, so I want to give one last try to win the Ranji Trophy before retiring. Next year, there won’t be any u-turn on retirement,” Manoj Tiwary told reporters at Eden Gardens today.
He, however, clarified that he will take no further part in white-ball cricket.
Manoj, who is also a minister of state from Shibpur constituency, revealed the roles his wife and CAB president Snehasish Ganguly played in him reconsidering the decision.
“My wife convinced me a lot because, much like others, she was also very surprised. She was at the gym when I posted this. She came running; she was angry and she scolded me. She then explained to me we played so well as a team in the last Ranji Trophy and that I had given a word to continue playing. After that I spoke to dada [Snehasish Ganguly] and he also convinced me to play for another year and retire on the field. So I had to reconsider my decision,” Manoj stated.
How did the CAB chief get him to rethink?
“I was a bit surprised, because I had a talk with him just 15-20 days back. We had discussed about the Bengal senior team for the upcoming season. I didn’t disturb him that day because, being a cricketer, I could understand his decision and emotions. But the next day, I dropped him a text on WhatsApp, saying I wanted to talk to him. When he called me that night, the only thing I asked him: ‘Why so hastily?’ The decision was his but, I asked him as the president of the association and a former cricketer,” Snehasish said.
Manoj Tiwary also doused any potential rumour embers, reiterating that his initial retirement thought had nothing to do with his MLA post.
“Nothing like that, there’s no pressure in that way. The very first day I joined politics, honourable chief minister had assured me that I could play for as long as I wanted. There’s full support even from our sports minister, Mr. Aroop Biswas,” he cleared.
Manoj Tiwary led Bengal to the final of the 2022/23 Ranji Trophy, where they lost to Saurashtra by nine wickets. In that season, he amassed 473 runs at an average of 33.78 with six half-centuries to boot. He scored a sublime 68 in what would have been his final innings for Bengal.
"Retirement should always be a collective decision" - Manoj Tiwary
More than an hour before Manoj Tiwary stepped into the Eden Gardens premises, a group of around 100 supporters flocked the CAB gates holding banners and chanting political-esque slogans.
Manoj issued a public apology to all his well-wishers and lovers of Bengal cricket. He explained how he realised that retirement should be a collective decision, despite being a personal one.
“I did leave everyone disheartened, and I want to say sorry to all those people. I was a little selfish in making that decision. These decisions are usually personal but, I realised how it should always be a collective decision. There are so many senior players who have set examples for us; there are my family members who have been sacrificing so many things for me; I didn’t even discuss it with my childhood coach. So this was obviously a wrong decision and I want to apologise to everyone. For the all Bengal cricket lovers, I want to try one more year to win the Ranji Trophy and I want to specially hand over that trophy to our president,” he concluded.
Fans are the biggest stakeholders in sport. MS Dhoni gave them the biggest return gift by announcing he would be back for IPL 2024. Manoj Tiwary has now gone down the same path.
He has played four Ranji Trophy finals – 2005/06, 2006/07, 2019/20, 2022/23 – and has ended up on the losing side every time. The dream lives on.