Manoj Tiwary does not want to stop. Not now, not anytime soon. He wants to tread the road on which Wasim Jaffer keeps walking.
“100%, he (Jaffer) is an inspiration. He a fantastic human being; his passion and commitment to cricket and calm demeanour should be a lesson to old and young. He is an example for players like me,” says Tiwary.
Tiwary turned 34 last November. Jaffer completed 42 on Sunday, 12 days after making 57 for Vidarbha in a Ranji Trophy Elite Group game.
“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.
“But the most important thing is to be happy. I have a sweet tooth and when I think it will make me feel better ‘mishti kheye ni (I pop in a sweet)’,” he says.
Before the 2019-20 season, Tiwary had a session with childhood coach Manabendra Ghosh. “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,” says Tiwary.
There are three reasons why Tiwary—Bengal’s go-to man in a crisis scored his first and the state’s second-ever Ranji Trophy triple century this term—wants to prolong a domestic career that began in February 2004. In pole position is his love for cricket. Breaking stereotype and showing son Yuvaan, now 20 months old, how he earns a living are the others.
“I want to break the notion that someone who is 34-35 can’t be athletic anymore, can’t be consistent anymore. And I want to keep playing till my son is seven or eight when he can process it,” says the former Bengal captain ahead of the quarter-final against Odisha, in Cuttack from Thursday. This is the first time since 2017-18 that Bengal are in the knockout stage.
If in the time, a “miracle” has to happen, it will. “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),” says Tiwary.