Manoj Tiwary, Minister of State for Affairs of Sports and Youth in the West Bengal Assembly, has been named in the 39-member probable list by Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
The former Bengal captain entered politics earlier this year with ‘All India Trinamool Congress’ party and has not played any competitive match since his last appearance for the state in the Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra in March 2020.
Despite joining politics, Tiwary has been working on his fitness and always wished to keep playing cricket. “Cricket is my passion. Whatever I am today is because of cricket. I had briefed CM Mamata Bannerjee beforehand that I would contest elections but also continue playing and she was perfectly fine with it. Personally, I did not want to end my career abruptly.” Tiwary told the indianexpress.com in an exclusive chat.
About balancing both his political and professional sports careers, Manoj said, “It is a question which will be in the minds of a lot of people but I believe that my managing skills will come into play. But I will ensure that there is no comprise in either field.”
The fitness standards for the game have now been set very high and understanding the same, Tiwary said that he has been working on his fitness but it has been challenging for him.
“It was very taxing to maintain my fitness especially during the election season with all the campaigning. But being a sportsperson, I have always kept fitness on my priority list,” added the Sports Minister.
The fitness camp for the selected players will start from 23rd July. “Attendance is compulsory. Fitness parameters set by the Association have to be met by all the players. Bengal team probables will be announced after the fitness camp,” CAB issued in a statement.
CAB has also associated with some other former Indian cricketers as VVS Laxman is retained as the batting consultant of Bengal, while Laxmi Ratan Shukla is appointed as Under-23 coach. Also the veteran Arun Lal is retained as Chief Coach and Sourasish Lahiri is promoted to assistant coach of the senior side.