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Tiwary’s blues in Bangalore’s red

It must have been an ego rush like no other for Saurabh Tiwary.

Written by Bharat Sundaresan | Mumbai |
May 9, 2012 12:41:33 am

It must have been an ego rush like no other for Saurabh Tiwary. It’s not every day you have an uber-wealthy beer baron and an attractive Bollywood star haggle live on national television to procure your services. However,the intense keenness shown by both the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab to sign him,and the eventual 1.6 million USD that he was bought for,were just icing on the cake.

The 2011 IPL auction had after all come on the back of a dreamy 10 months for the Jharkhand left-hander. A period in which he had climbed from the oblivion of the domestic circuit to become a household name,thanks to a few notable performances for Mumbai Indians in IPL III. Not to forget,being fast-tracked into the Indian ODI team for a short stint soon after. And now,with the crowning glory of a hefty paycheque,the sky was to be the limit for the burly youngster. Unfortunately,though,his fairy tale was to abruptly hit a hitch.

For RCB,Tiwary failed to replicate his match-winning form in season four that once made him a Mumbai Indians heart throb. Runs weren’t coming as freely as before,and batting was proving to be a struggle. Things haven’t looked too promising this year either — like the highlighted mullet giving way to a short hairdo,the runs too have shrunk in size.

If 187 runs at 23.37 in the previous edition could be overlooked as a case of first-time blues,104 runs at 17.33 so far in IPL 5 is not what Bangalore would have bargained for when they bickered for him so vehemently. And as he returns to the city where he first dazzled in the limelight,Tiwary can be pardoned for feeling a touch of remorse along with an extra dose of nostalgia. This will be his first game against his former side on their home-turf of the Wankhede Stadium,if he manages to recover from his illness that kept him out of the Deccan game on Sunday.

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Those close to the 22-year-old Jharkhandi blame a significant drop in opportunities in RCB colours for his depreciating numbers over the last two seasons. Closer scrutiny of his performances,however,reveal that though Tiwary hasn’t really gotten an extended run higher up the order at number three and four,he has walked in on a number of occasions with many overs remaining,and not made the most of his chances.

For Mumbai in 2010,Tiwary got to bat in the top four on 14 occasions,and though an average of 27.66 might not seem earth-shattering,he always provided his team with early momentum. In his first season with Bangalore,he batted a majority of his innings in the lower middle-order,and sometimes even below pinch-hitters Zaheer Khan and Asad Pathan.

On an average,though,he has walked in with at least 50 balls remaining in the Bangalore innings. And in that time,the best he managed was an unbeaten 42. This season,except a crucial cameo of 36 in that incredible run-chase against Pune Warriors,he is yet to make an impression. Tiwary cannot be blamed completely for his predicament. Perhaps the answer for RCB in their quest to get the best of their high-price buy could lie in taking stock of his successful season for Mumbai.

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As a result of their top-heavy batting order,Tiwary has once too often been forced to play the role of a finisher. And he hasn’t looked a natural in that character. Whatever the case,he will be desperate to pull up his socks and get his act right again — almost as steadfast as his team was to score his services 15 months ago.

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First published on: 09-05-2012 at 12:41:33 am

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