Manoj Tiwary has revealed that he will continue to play cricket even after joining politics after being named in Bengal's 39-member probables for the upcoming domestic season. Despite holding the state's sports ministry post, Tiwary has assured that he will treat his teammates as brothers.
Bengal cricketer Manoj Tiwary, who is currently Minister for State for Affairs of Sports and Youth of West Bengal, has been named in the 39-member probables listed by the Cricket Association of Bengal for the upcoming domestic season. The former Bengal skipper is available to play for the state across all formats.
The 35-year-old Tiwary, in May, won his maiden election for the regional political party Trinamool Congress (TMC) after contesting from the Shibpur constituency of West Bengal. The player's shift to politics hinted at his cricket career's end, but to everyone's surprise, the former Bengal captain will continue to play for his state on the parallel lines of holding the state's ministry post.
“As far as playing is concerned, I have passion, I enjoy the game and I have a lot to contribute to Bengal cricket. This is the reason why I’m continuing to play cricket. Whatever I’m today is because of my cricket,” Tiwary told The Indian Express.
Tiwary has scored 5466 runs from his 163 List A matches and he last featured for Bengal in the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Tiwary revealed that quitting the game was never on his mind and he had a discussion on it with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who gave her nod to the player to continue with the game.
“I never thought about quitting cricket and I discussed it with our Chief Minister. She told me, ‘No problem, khel na (keep playing)’. This is my profession and passion, which is the reason I didn’t announce my retirement,” Tiwary mentioned.
Tiwary could be the first in the country to play as a sitting minister of a state or union. Current Union Minister of Sports Anurag Thakur and the likes of Navjot Singh Sidhu, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Tejashwi Yadav, too played the game, before they turned into politicians. Tiwary believes his presence will create a new feeling in the Bengal dressing room and has assured him to treat his teammates just like a brother, notwithstanding his ministerial post.
“When I step into the dressing-room I will make sure that I’m meeting with them (teammates) as a senior player, as a brother and a teammate," Tiwary said.