Calcutta: Manoj Tiwary is happy that he got 93, on the opening day of the India A vs England warm-up game, but regrets that the only mistake he committed during his 201-minute and 150-ball stay at the wicket cost him his wicket.
Buoyed by Manoj’s innings and able support from Abhinav Mukund (73), Yuvraj Singh (59) and Irfan Pathan (46), India A reached 369 for nine at the draw of stumps.
“I had just one lapse in concentration and that turned out to be fatal… However, I’m happy with the effort,” Manoj told The Telegraph on Tuesday evening.
The Bengal captain has been touring with the Indian limited overs side for the past one year or so, but has got very few chances to feature in the playing XI. In fact, the 27-year-old has played only eight ODIs in four years since his debut.
But still he is not ready to bother about that, even while declaring that he is “ready” for Test cricket. “My job is to score runs and, where I’m concerned, I’m ready for Test cricket. However, being picked or not being picked is not in my hands,” Manoj said.
That Manoj’s confidence is high is not only because of the number of runs he scored, but also because those runs came against England, who fielded a top bowling attack, which is actually one of the better attacks in world cricket at the moment. “They have got a great attack… The medium pacers along with Graeme Swann… It’s a great bowling line-up,” Manoj said.
Manoj’s partnership with Yuvraj did not yield too many runs — they added just 28 for the fifth wicket — on Tuesday, but he still enjoyed the dashing innings from the comeback man, somebody he looks up to. “Yuvipa had an excellent innings and played some stunning shots,” Manoj said.
Manoj, who came in at the fall of captain Suresh Raina's wicket with India A struggling at 140 for four, batted maturely to rescue his team. He put on a century partnership with Pathan.
Their 110-run stand for the seventh wicket off 168 balls helped India A cross the 300-mark. Looking set for a century, Manoj, however, was dismissed when he tried to play across against England paceman Tim Bresnan only to see his stumps rattled.
Interestingly, with the crucial selection for the Test series against England just days away, all the national selectors were present at the Brabourne Stadium, on Tuesday. Sandeep Patil and Co. will certainly take their notes before they zero in on the final squad on Monday for the first Test.
One slot in the Test batting line-up that will see a lot of debate is that of the No.6 batsman. The contest was mainly between Yuvraj and Raina, but after Tuesday’s knock, Manoj can be considered as the dark horse.