Manoj Tiwary is hoping to be third time lucky when he joins injury-ravaged Team India on its ill-fated tour of England.
The Bengal captain was previously part of the Indian team twice, but, on both occasions, he could not justify his inclusion.
His first taste of international cricket in 2008 was baptism by fire. Hours after landing Down Under, he was up against a fiery Australian pace attack. After struggling for 16 deliveries, a fast, swinging yorker from Brett Lee sent his stumps crashing. He scored just two runs in that ODI of the CB tri-series, in Brisbane.
The 25-year-old was made to wait another three years before being called up again, for the ODI series in the West Indies earlier this year. With the seniors being rested for the series, it was an opportunity for youngsters. But, yet again, Lady Luck deserted Tiwary; he got just two games to prove his worth, and, that too, at different batting positions as he ended up with scores of 2 and 22.
But he continued to knock on the selectors' doors with consistent performances at the first class level, the most recent being the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia. The dashing right-hander played a smashing innings of 188 against New Zealand A and scored 59 against Australia Institute of Sport in the three-day games, while making 45 not out and 36 in the Twenty20s.
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'I would like to carry my good form to England'
Luck was never on Tiwary's side, as far as international cricket is concerned. He was picked for the tour of Bangladesh in 2007 after an impressive showing in domestic cricket, but a freakish shoulder injury during practice on the eve of the first match, in Mirpur, condemned him to a long injury lay-off.
With the Indian squad now struggling with injuries, and poor form of some of their top players, on the ongoing tour of England, it was only fitting that the selectors replaced the injured Rohit Sharma with the in-form Tiwary.
Tiwary is high on confidence following his recent exploits in Australia, and hoping to continue the good run in England if he gets an opportunity to bat.
"For me, performing well in the Emerging Players Tour in Australia was a big confidence-booster and I would like to carry my good form to England," he said immediately after being called up in place of Rohit.
"Scoring runs in Australia is always a big boost, and I have been in good form this season, even in domestic cricket and in the Indian Premier League. So, this season, I have been doing well and I hope I can continue my good form."
'I am ready for the short stuff'
England's fast bowlers have used the short ball to good effect against Indian batsmen. But Tiwary believes it is difficult to use the bouncers in ODIs as much as in Tests since batsmen are always looking to attack.
"In ODIs, if you want to do well, you have to score from good balls too, whether it is a yorker or short balls. I am ready for the short stuff. Mentally, you have to be prepared to take on all the bowlers and any type of deliveries that are bowled at you. The key is preparation and getting used to the conditions and wicket before looking to play your shots."
Having modelled his batting style on Kevin Pietersen, Tiwary adopts the same attitude as the England batsman, and dominates the bowlers once he gets his eye in.
"It's not that I have copied his batting style; maybe, it is just a coincidence that our batting style is the same. I have always played in my natural style, which is to attack the bowlers. But Pietersen is a top batsman. If I get a chance, I will talk to him and try to learn from him," said Tiwary.
'Ganguly has always been my inspiration'
Nicknamed 'Chota Dada' by his fans, since he made it to the Indian team soon after Sourav Ganguly (Dada)'s exit, he makes no secret of the fact that he looks up to the former India captain for inspiration.
"I have been following him from a long time and I have learnt a lot from him. He has always been my inspiration and has motivated me whenever I got to meet him.
"I know he is doing commentary in England, so will look to meet him and discuss with him. He has played so much cricket, and visited England so many times, so I am sure he will definitely give me some good tips which will prove useful."
With Dada watching him from the commentary box, Tiwary is hoping to exceed all expectations and prove he is here to stay!