Less than a week after he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, former India batter Manoj Tiwary on Tuesday said he has decided to reverse his decision and wants to give “one more try” to win the elusive Ranji Trophy title with Bengal.
Two-time champions Bengal have reached the Ranji final twice in the last three seasons, but they are yet to replicate the success of 1989-90.
The Tiwary-led Bengal were overwhelming favourites to win the title at home last season, but Saurashtra defeated them by nine wickets in a repeat of the outcome of the 2019-20 season’s final.
“It was a proud moment for me to captain Bengal to the final last season. I want to give it one more try before leaving,” Tiwary told a media conference at the Eden Gardens.
“I’m coming out of retirement for one last year. Bengal cricket has given me everything. I want to give it a last try, be it as a player or captain.
“Next year, there will not be any more U-turn. I want to give one more year to Bengal cricket,” the 37-year-old said.
Tiwary said his sudden decision to say “goodbye to cricket” by posting a farewell post on Instagram on Thursday had taken everyone by surprise, including his wife.
Tiwary is 92 runs shy of reaching the 10,000-runs landmark (9,908 runs) in First-Class cricket, averaging 48.56 with 29 centuries in a glittering 19-year career. He made his debut under Deep Dasgupta in 2004 against Delhi at the Eden Gardens.
Tiwary said he was “selfish” in taking the decision and realised it after being convinced by his wife and CAB president Snehasish Ganguly.
“I’m an emotional human being and it was an impromptu decision to call it a day that morning (August 3). I had a blank phase in the morning.
“But at the same time, when I got a realisation and after Dada (Snehasish Ganguly) and my wife spoke to me. Raj-da ke trophy tule dite chai next season (I want to win the Ranji Trophy and hand it over to Snehasish da next season.”
“I was flooded by messages and everyone got disheartened at the decision. I was little selfish in making that decision, so my apologies. It was fully a personally decision. Then I realised how could it be an individual decision.”
“After hearing all this, I also thought let’s try. We have a strong team, coach and support staff. This is our best hope,” he added.
Tiwray is also an active politician, serving as a minister of state (sports and youth affairs) in West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s state cabinet.
He first gave up captaincy in 2018 but played for Bengal despite battling with injuries. He made a foray into politics and won from Shibpur constituency in 2021 Assembly polls.
Tiwary then returned to lead Bengal last season after regular skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran was unavailable, busy with national commitments.
Bengal captain yet to be decided
Tiwary may have successfully led Bengal last season but it’s not clear whether he would retain the captaincy in the upcoming season.
“This is not the right platform to discuss all this,” CAB president Snehasish Ganguly said.
“It’s not an important agenda, we just started the season. We will have some exposure matches and selectors will decide. It’s their job,” he added.
On what he told Tiwary to convince him, he said: “I couldn’t put pressure on him. I just told him this was not a proper way to retire. A player after serving for 19 years, should retire from the ground — that’s his platform.”
Source: Hindustan Times