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Manoj has a mission

Calcutta: Manoj Tiwary is not taking anything for granted. Wiser by the experience, he wants to keep performing. The same will apply when he leads Bengal against Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy.

“I consider every match to be my last… It might happen that I don’t get runs and I might be dropped. So, I ensure that I score the runs whenever I go out to bat. I want to keep improving.

“I don’t know what the selectors will be looking for when they select the Test team. My job is to perform… Against Rajasthan, my goal is to score runs and help the team to win,” Tiwary told The Telegraph on returning to the city from Mumbai late on Thursday.

Tiwary scored 93 for India A against England in the three-day match which concluded Thursday.

He’s not taking the defending champions lightly. “Rajasthan are a brilliant team… They don’t have any stars in their team. So, they are not dependent on any individual. They will depend on team work. But we are ready for the challenge. We are going to take each session at a time.”

Woorkeri Raman feels the pressure will be on the defending champions.

“It’s a new season… No team will begin as favourites,” the Bengal coach said after practice at the Eden.

“Rajasthan are a good collective unit… They’ll be under pressure. We’ll play positively and with enthusiasm. Rajasthan will have to perform and deal with the pressure aspect… They play as a team and rallies around a few individuals,” said Raman.

Rajasthan captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar agrees there will be no favourites. “No team will start favourites. It’s a long tournament and all teams will start on an equal footing.”

What has been the secret of their success in the last two seasons? “Team work and our focus on the basics. The first focus was to make the knockouts and then take it step by step.

“The best thing is the boys are willing to learn from their mistakes… They are receptive to gaining knowledge. They’re always working on their own game.”

Kanitkar felt Bengal would be a tough side in their own backyard. “Bengal have consistent performers. The players are right up there and we’re not taking them lightly.”

The former India all-rounder agreed that they will be missing Aakash Chopra. “His absence will be a factor. His experience was vital and that can’t be gained overnight.”