Manoj Tiwari, a sitting minister and domestically super active cricketer is going to play for the bengal team in Ranji Trophy. It marks the first time, a sitting minister in a state government is donning his jersey for the same state as a cricketer.

Manoj Tiwari, who is a sitting minister of state for youth affairs and sports with TMC, is in the team of bengal and will be available on the field as a firm support when tournament will start from January 13.

“I have built a core team that will do the job in my absence in my constituency. My team has the (local Trinamool Congress) block president, women’s wing head, members of our students wing and other experienced political leaders and our work force. So far, we haven’t faced any problem. We have been able to provide services at my constituency,” Tiwary told.

Bengal, in Group B, will play their group league fixtures in Bangalore, but the middle-order batsman believes that with right communication, the distance can be bridged.

“I will be available on phone and will monitor everything, and I’m very confident that I will be able to shoulder the dual responsibility,” he said, adding that his wife would be helping him in his work.

“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. Whatever I’m today is because of my cricket,” Tiwary said.

And the former Bengal captain, who has 12 ODIs, three T20Is and 125 first-class matches under his belt, is happy with his preparation for the Ranji Trophy. “I have played practice matches, a club game for Mohun Bagan and scored two centuries. My aim is to become the highest run-getter in the Ranji Trophy this season and if I can do that, Bengal will have a successful campaign. The seasons I have scored around 1,000 runs, Bengal have gone deep into the tournament,” Tiwary said, stressing that he would be in the dressing-room “as a senior player, as a brother and a team mate” and not as a minister.

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