Eternally entwined

Over five years ago at the Wankhede Stadium, Rohit Sharma took a diving catch at point to deny Manoj Tiwary a century in the second innings of the final. It also denied Bengal the Ranji Trophy title.

They were playing that particular game in the shadow of giants; Sharma in that of Sachin Tendulkar's and Tiwary dwarfed by the presence of Sourav Ganguly. Tendulkar had scored a century in the first innings and Ganguly 90 in Bengal's unsuccessful chase of 472, but Tiwary's 94 was the innings that ushered in the belief that the young batsmen was cut out for the higher echelons of the game.

Sharma too top-scored with 57 in Mumbai's second innings and like Tiwary seemed destined to move up a grade eventually. Both played for India with varied levels of success and for different lengths of time. But the fact that they are leading their respective Ranji Trophy sides instead of preparing for the Kolkata Test speaks of both unfulfilled potential and upcoming opportunities.

First among equals?

In a season in which two triple hundreds and six double hundreds have already been scored, Tiwary with a sum total of 289 runs and Sharma with 209 will have to do much more to remain the first among equals on the fringes. The additional responsibility of leading a side will test both Tiwary and Sharma as they hope to fashion twin fortunes their's and their respective teams.

Sharma, for one, does not hide his ambitions. "You always want to play at the top level, which is representing India. So in that sense, at the back of my mind, there is always this goal to play for India but I don't let that thought affect my performance when I play domestic cricket," Sharma said at the Cricket Club of India on Thursday.

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