Manoj Tiwary has laid into his former Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for not promoting young players from Bengal. While the likes of Tiwari, former India captain and BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammed Shami have all played for KKR in the past, no Bengal player has turned out for the franchise’s playing eleven in the past few seasons.
Tiwary played for KKR between 2010 and 2013 and was an integral part of the side’s first IPL title win.
“Certainly I would like to see a change. I always say that there should be a lot of players (from Bengal in KKR). The IPL had started with a focus on Indian players. It was about providing Indian players with a platform to showcase their talents. There was even a rule that local players have to be there in franchises, there have to be a certain number of U19 players and U23 players. When I had good relations with KKR I was asked a few times to suggest some good local players and I had given those suggestions as well,” Tiwary said on Sports Tak.
“But then slowly these rules started to go away and now you can see that local players are seen less with a certain franchise and instead you see them playing for other teams. So my only question is that if Bengal players can play for those other teams regularly in the playing eleven, why can’t they play here. So that question mark is always there on the management. They never talk openly also. They stay silent and this question mark always remains on them,” he said.
The 36-year-old said that having local stars in the team would inspire younger fans to take up the sport and bring more passionate support for the team.
“Local players inspire kids in the stadium. That is someone from our state team playing for the local franchise. They get motivated by that and that emotion stays. Fans would want to support their local players. They will always support their team but when they see that there is a local player in the squad, they will take that emotion with them.