What target did Manoj Tiwary set for himself ahead of Ranji Trophy?

[caption id="attachment_55579" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Bengal Practice at indoor 021017 rr (3) Bengal players after a practice session today at the Eden Gardens. Image Source: XtraTime[/caption]


Kolkata: Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary wants the youngsters in team to express themselves in the middle and embrace the opportunities that come their way. The Bengal team will be leaving the city tomorrow to begin their Ranji Trophy campaign against Services at the Palam Air Force Ground from October 06. The Bengal captain in a freewheeling chat to shared his thoughts on the preparations, the opponents, role of the youngsters and his own target. Here are the excerpts:

How has the preparations been in the lead up to the Ranji season?

Well the preparations have been really good. The boys performed well in the KSCA tournament. Unfortunately we lost in the semis by virtue of toss. The conditions in Gujarat were difficult but still the boys put up a good show. That’s all we are focussed on. They are putting in a lot of effort. It’s now time to go out in the middle and perform to the best of our abilities.

This year also the emphasis has been to blood youngsters in the team. What is your take?

I am a firm believer of fielding a best team on the field. Youngsters who are coming have played a lot of club cricket against senior players. They are all confident bunch of boys. The team this season has a good mixture of youngsters and experience.

Talking about the Group, do you agree Bengal is placed in a comparatively easy group?

Obviously a lot is being said that we are placed in an easy group. But let me tell you cricket is not played on paper. We have to play good brand of cricket to earn the maximum points. We respect all our opponents in the Group. Our focus will be to play to our strengths.

How are you looking forward to facing Services in the first match?

For any tournament the start is very important. In a long season like the Ranji Trophy we have to get the maximum points during the Group Stages. We had the experience of playing at the same venue. We did well against Madhya Pradesh in the last match we played there.

Last couple of seasons Bengal have started well in the season, but lacked consistency?

I don’t think we lacked consistency during the last couple of seasons. We couldn’t capitalise the advantage that came our way. Unfortunately, we were short of a match in Group stages last season as the game against Gujarat was cancelled due to smog in the capital. Also the game against Baroda at Lahli (match got over in one and half days) was played on a surface which was not sporting.

As a leader of the unit, what would you say to the youngsters?

All I want from the youngsters is to know what exactly their roles are in the team. I want them to express themselves out in the middle. They just need to grab the opportunities with both hands.

On the personal front what targets have you set for yourself?

I had a pretty decent start to the season. I scored runs in Duleep Trophy. I played some aggressive shots which brought my downfall in the final as I was running short of partners. I got valuable tips from Laxman and Dada (Sourav Ganguly) during the Vision20-20 camp. I hope to reciprocate their inputs on the field. My aim will be to become the highest run scorer in Ranji this season.

Lastly, what would you say about Pragyan Ojha’s conspicuous absence?

There is nothing much to say about his absence and I do not want to comment anything which could create controversy. Anyway he is not in the team. It was his personal decision.

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