Manoj Tiwari scored a crucial 60* knock in the second innings of the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 match against Uttar Pradesh to guide Bengal to a six-wicket win on Friday, December 16. But the veteran batter also hinted at retirement at the end of the current domestic season. Manoj said that he wants to give Bengal a Ranji Trophy title on his way out.
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Bengal reached the semi-finals of the last edition of the Ranji Trophy tournament but lost to Madhya Pradesh. They last won the tournament in 1989-90. Moreover, they have played in the three finals during the 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2019-20 seasons.
Tiwari was part of all three lost finals but now has expressed his desire to win the title for Bengal this season. He said that his team must take the game to the next level.
“We have to play like champions. We won today, but it’s not like we played exceptional cricket. If we look session-by-session, there were phases when we bowled badly. And our opening batters must score runs. If we want to win the Ranji Trophy, we must take our game to the next level,” Tiwari said to reporters after the match as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
“I am quite relaxed about leading the team” – Manoj Tiwari
The 37-year-old batter led the team in the absence of regular captain Abhimanyu Easwaran, who has joined India’s Test squad on the Bangladesh tour. Tiwari also expressed his feeling about leading the team once again after three seasons. Tiwari said that he has to take responsibility in Easwaran’s absence and he is relaxed about it.
“I am quite relaxed about leading the team. When I stepped down as the first-class captain of Bengal [during the 2018-19 season], I was told to continue as captain of the one-day and T20 sides, but I had refused, telling them that we need to groom a younger player as captain. But in Abhimanyu’s absence, I realised I have to take this responsibility because decision-making is such a crucial part of the game.”Tiwari added
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Tiwari has been a stalwart for Bengal in domestic cricket with over 15000 runs. Meanwhile, he has also appeared for India in 15 white-ball matches and scored one hundred and a fifty (both in ODIs). However, he was not able to cement a regular place in the national team. But, he has enjoyed good success in domestic cricket with Bengal.