Former India player and Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary expressed his desire to play a long innings as far as professional cricket is concerned, taking inspiration from veteran Vidarbha cricketer Wasim Jaffer.
34-year-old Tiwary, who represented India in 12 ODIs and three T20Is, has vowed to play the game for as long as possible, taking a leaf out of the book of 42-year-old Jaffer. Tiwary scored a masterful triple ton against Hyderabad after Bengal were found themselves struggling at 60 for three.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Tiwari opened up on the pressures of keeping his place in the squad and the motivation driving him to continue despite the challenges.
“100%, he (Jaffer) is an inspiration. He a fantastic human being; his passion and commitment to cricket and calm demeanor should be a lesson to old and young. He is an example for players like me.”
Tiwary stated how looking after the body, diet and fitness formed the main ingredients for a long professional cricket career. He also explained the maturity developed over the years which now helped him get the team over the line.
“It means extra work on my body and my diet and, most importantly, my liquid intake. Strength building, staying supple gets difficult as you get older. I have been blessed with a sound physique but I don’t take it for granted."
Tiwari also revealed that training with childhood coach Manabendra Ghosh before the 2019-20 season helped him correct faults that had been bringing his downfall more often than not. He explained that dipping his shoulders across towards the cover helped him cover the stumps and also helped him evade outside edges.
“The focus was on getting to dip my shoulder across rather than slanting towards mid-off while leaving the ball. That way, if I leave, I can move towards cover so that my stumps are protected and the bat kept away.”
Tiwari was also hopeful of an outside chance that consistent performances might bring a surprise national call-up just the way it did for Jharkhand's Shahbaz Nadeem. Tiwary remains optimistic about his chances despite not being in the scheme of things since 2015 and reiterated that every cricketer must trust the process.
“If you are fit and performing consistently you never know, you might get a call. The hope is there, the desire is there. Shahbaz Nadeem, nobody expected him to play that Test (in Ranchi against South Africa last year).”
He also cited the example of former India and Bengal captain as well as current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, and his comeback trail during the 2006-07 season and how he finally earned his call-back to the national team under then-head coach Greg Chappell.
“Everyone in the Bengal team saw his pain and his hunger to do well.”