Two years back, Bengal batsman Manoj Tiwary was being hailed as the next big thing of Indian cricket. His unbelievable consistency in first class cricket earned him an India call for the Bangladesh tour immediately after India’s disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign in West Indies. But he broke his shoulder during the practice sessions which forced him out of the series. After recovering, he got his chance to play for India in ODI Down Under in CB series in 2008, but failed to make any impression in the one-off chance he got.
A hard-hitting batsman, who plays for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, Manoj, 23, scored heavily in 2008-09 domestic season to come into national contention again. Recently, he was picked among the 30 probables for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Manoj spoke to Zeecric’s Biswajit Jha before leaving for South Africa where IPL 2 will take place.
Are you happy with your present form?
Yeah, I am happy with my current batting form. I have made a lot of runs in domestic circuit this time. My performance helped me get a place among T20 World Cup probables.
What are your expectations from this year’s IPL?
Last year I didn’t have a great IPL, but this year I would like to perform consistently, as a good IPL performance will help me get a chance in Indian team for T20 World Cup in June.
Unlike the past, players can earn a lot of money playing in the cash-rich leagues like IPL. Is playing for India that important, anymore?
Look, playing for the country is the top most agenda for me. Money or no money, it’s the honour of representing India which, I think, any player dreams of.
Have you talked to Sourav Ganguly in recent times?
No…I have not met him recently. If I meet him in South Africa, I will definitely talk to him…he is a big motivator.
Are you also looking forward to meeting your idol Kevin Pietersen?
Definitely. I am really looking forward to meeting KP and talk to him about certain aspects of batting. He is a great player.
Do you consider yourself as a batsman or an all-rounder?
Though people know me as a batsman alone, I like to consider myself as an all-rounder.
Since IPL is taking place in South Africa I am not bowling leg-spin these days. I am rather concentrating on medium pace. I am working on my slower deliveries and yorkers.
This year the IPL is taking place in South Africa. Will it make any difference to the players?
I don’t think there will be any change apart from the lack of huge fan-following which we saw during IPL last year. Moreover, South African pitches are also good for stroke making…so it will be a great time for both the bowlers and batsmen.
Do you foresee any chance for your team Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2
Like 2008, we are very good team this year. Unfortunately, we could not win the tournament last year. But this year, I think, we are the favourites.
It was reported that you will like to bat with a double-edged willow this time. Is it true?
I am practicing with the double-edged bat in nets. But I am not sure whether I will use it in matches. Let’s see how I adjust with it during practice matches.
What are the advantages to bat with double-edged bat?
It has its certain advantages if you like to sweep or reverse sweep or switch-hit. I do sweep and reverse sweep a lot against the spinners, so I though it might help me in shorter formats of the game.
Thank you, Manoj. Wish you all the best for IPL in South Africa.