New-look Ranji Trophy still in need of a facelift
The absence of a ‘weaker group’ could make for an interesting season, but there remain creases that need ironing in the future
When he first burst on to the scene, Saurabh Tiwary was called a Mahendra Singh Dhoni clone. The shared home state of Jharkhand combined with the muscular build and the long locks helped create the association. The difference ends there though, because while Tiwary is a talented youngster, he hasn’t showed the staying power that is required to survive at the top level, which explains his rather short stint with the Indian team so far. Tiwary made his Ranji Trophy debut when only 17, and came into his own soon after at the Under-19 tri-series also involving hosts South Africa and Bangladesh in January 2008. He slammed two half-centuries as India won the tournament. He was also a member of the team that won the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia back in 2008. But the entry into the big time came after a stellar 2009-10 domestic season where ended the Ranji Trophy Plate League with an average of 98.83, studded with three centuries from five games. Tiwary followed it up with a stellar performance for Mumbai Indians in the 2010 Indian Premier League, scoring 419 runs as his team finished second only to Chennai Super Kings. The form appears to have dipped somewhat since then. And though Royal Challengers Bangalore have picked him up to bolster the middle-order for IPL 2012, Tiwary has looked overweight and unfit in recent times and that explains his lack of runs.