Manoj Tiwary, who dedicated his maiden century to the victims of the fire breakout in a Kolkata hospital, showed that apart from being a team man he is also compassionate and has a wider sense of occasion © AFP
Manoj Tiwary, who dedicated his maiden century to the victims of the fire breakout in a Kolkata hospital, showed that apart from being a team man he is also compassionate and has a wider sense of occasion © AFP

 

By Sidhanta Patnaik

 

It was June 7, 2010. India ‘A’ were in England and their warm-up match against Yorkshire at Headingley, Leeds, was meandering towards a draw. The news of Saurabh Tiwary’s call-up to the Indian team for Asia Cup had already spread around the ground. He had to leave for Sri Lanka immediately. After the match as the excitement in the camp peaked, the gentle voice of Manoj Tiwary suggested that a cake should be ordered at the team hotel to celebrate the occasion. That was a sign of a team man. He knew exactly how it felt to get a national call-up. It was his injured luck that had robbed him of his chance of making debut at Mirpur against Bangladesh in 2007. Finally when he took guard at Brisbane against Australia, Brett Lee’s steam was too hot handle.

 

From then till now it has been a journey in the wilderness for three years. On Sunday night when he scored the physically-defying century at Chennai against West Indies, his run- making spree in first-class cricket for three years finally paid off. As he marched from 80s to the hundred, character was defined in every run. He pushed his dehydrated body towards the landmark. When he finally got there, he could not stop smiling. He was happy that his international journey, which had slowly started looking like an unfortunate kid’s tale, had now bloomed to be acknowledged as highly-talented batsmen. As he walked off the ground, there was a sense of satisfaction on his face. He knew he could afford to retire hurt as he had done his job.

 

When he dedicated his maiden century to the victims of the fire breakout in a Kolkata hospital, he showed that apart from being a team man he is also compassionate and has a wider sense of occasion. A sign of mellowness is always a pleasure to the eyes.

 

This innings might not be a sure shot passport for him to own a regular place in the team for some time to come, but on Sunday night when the team would have celebrated his feat by cutting a cake, he would have savoured the transitional shift of celebrating before making debut and after scoring one’s first century at the top level. This innings has put the spotlight back on him; it’s the first sign of growth. From hereon, if injuries do not add another twist to the tale, the efforts of the last three years of his career should start paying the desired rewards. His form can only do good to the healthy competition that already exists in the line up.

 

Before Sunday, the last time a Bengal batsman had scored a century in One-Day International cricket was in March 2003. With Chota Dada around now, the Bengalis will hope that they do not have to wait for that long to see one of their own score another century.

 

(Sidhanta Patnaik is a sports marketing professional, public speaker and part time writer. His twitter id is @sidhpat)