Farewell, Saurabh Tiwary! MI’s OG star of 2008, two-time IPL winner, retires

By Vineet Anantharaman

For any Mumbai Indians fan, Saurabh Tiwary is that feeling of nostalgia. Stylish, easy on the eye, effortless almost, and then suddenly turning into this six-hitter when needed, always among the runs, always in that MI middle-order.

Think 2008. India has just won the under-19 World Cup, and the world has seen a big, strong, left-hander, who can switch to monster mode when smashing the ball. Long haired, from Jharkhand, and everyone’s calling him a left-handed MS Dhoni. Immediately he’s picked up to join the MI squad.

Think 2010. MI’s middle-order wears a new look. Aditya Tare at three, Ambati Rayudu at four, Saurabh Tiwary at five, Kieron Pollard at six. In a season where we go on an absolute roll and play our fearless brand of cricket, something that’s stuck with us ever since, Tiwary is on a roll of his own. 419 runs in 16 games at a strike-rate of nearly 136. A star is unearthed. He’s knocked hard enough on the doors of the Indian national team. Nah, he’s broken that door down.

Think 2017. He’s played just the one IPL game. Back home, to the team where it all began, after seven years, he smashes a fifty in the one match he plays. That is Saurabh Tiwary. Always ready to pounce on the one chance he gets.

Think 2020 and 2021. Through Covid, in the UAE, behind closed doors, he is back with MI after two years of being out of the IPL, and immediately, in true Tiwary style, is among the runs. Big runs.

"It's a little tough to bid farewell to this journey that I had started before my schooling," he said at a press conference at the Keenan Stadium in Jamshedpur on the sidelines of Jharkhand’s penultimate Ranji Trophy game. "But I'm also sure that this is the right time for this. I feel that if you're not in the national team and IPL, it's better to vacate a spot in the state side for a youngster. Youngsters are getting a lot of chances in our Test team so I'm making this decision.

"It's not like I've decided this only on the basis of my performances. You can see my record in Ranji and in the last domestic season. It's always asked what I'm going to do next and for now I only know that cricket is the only thing I know so I'm going to be connected to the game.”

It's his trademark style he’s saying goodbye in. Selfless, for the game of cricket, for his team. Thank you for all the memories in the Blue and Gold, Saurabh!