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Can beat any team: Manoj

Calcutta: Karnataka, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu does suggest a tough group for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy but Manoj Tiwary isn’t intimidated.

Their performance in the last season should make other teams wary of Bengal, feels Manoj Tiwary.

“I’ve seen the groupings. We’ll be up against the defending champions, the 40-time winners, and a team like Tamil Nadu who are always tough competitors …

“But let me tell you one thing. I don’t think we should fear anyone or give any team undue importance. We reached the semis last season, which only reflects that we are capable of beating the top teams…

“Every team is beatable, that is how we’re viewing things now. We’re stronger than most of the sides on the basis of our results last season…

“Yes, Karnataka have been doing extremely well of late. But Mumbai, for the last couple of seasons, haven’t been too good. So, you need to look at these aspects as well,” Manoj said on Saturday.

Batting has been Bengal’s major concern for close to a decade. Precisely, it was one of the main reasons behind their defeat in the semi-final last season against Maharashtra. Leaving out Manoj, Wriddhiman Saha and captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla, the others just don’t have it in them to put in a lion-hearted effort and bail the team out of trouble.

According to Manoj, the onus is on the batsmen to work on their game and get themselves up to the required level. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m always ready to share my experiences with the rest.

“But at the end of the day, you need to help yourself. It’s the batsmen themselves who need to work hard and make sure they are improving,” he explained.

Since his return from Australia earlier this week, Manoj has hardly spent time relaxing. He hasn’t wasted time and headed to the nets to get ready for the upcoming Buchi Babu meet.

“Post my return (from Down Under), I’ve gained more and more confidence. I never had doubts about my abilities as a batsman, although I feel I should’ve got more hundreds there. But I think I’ve improved even as a bowler… Picked up quite a few wickets in the one-dayers in Australia…

“Now, my decision to play the Buchi Babu meet was purely because I wanted to continue with this rhythm… That’s why I’ve started practising soon after my return. “Also, Dadi (Sourav Ganguly) asked me to play the Buchi Babu meet.”