I am fit for selection - Manoj Tiwary
India batsman Manoj Tiwary has said he has made a full recovery from the side strain that ruled him out of action for a month. The India selectors are expected to meet later this week to pick the squad for the final two ODIs against England and Tiwary is hopeful of making the cut. His fitness report is expected to reach the selectors before the meeting.
Tiwary had been sidelined for at least six weeks after suffering the injury while batting during a Ranji Trophy game for Bengal against Saurashtra in Rajkot in December. His rehabilitation took place at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, in two phases.
"I am feeling fit for selection and have successfully completed my rehabilitation," Tiwary told ESPNcricinfo. "The physio and the trainer were very satisfied with my recovery and I was progressing better than expected in fact. I was able to train with very little pain. They should have sent the fitness report to the selectors yesterday. I am now back home in Kolkata, looking to play a few club games (for match practice)."
Tiwary was injured just five games into the Ranji season. He began the season with 93 against the touring England side in the warm-up game in Mumbai - the highest by an Indian batsman in the game - but it wasn't good enough for him to make the Test line-up. He was among at least three contenders for the No. 6 spot, which eventually went to Yuvraj Singh. Tiwary also hit 191 in his third Ranji match this season, against Gujarat.
He had been initially named in the Twenty20 squad for the two matches against England before Christmas, but the injury meant that he had to miss that series and the limited-overs series against Pakistan as well. Tiwary had also suffered a wrist injury early in the tournament, but it wasn't as serious as his side strain.
Tiwary had once narrowly missed out on a Test debut, when he injured his shoulder during fielding practice on the eve of the Mirpur Test in 2007. Opportunities were also few: he has played just eight ODIs and three T20s since his international debut in 2008. Tiwary scored his maiden ODI century in December 2011, but was benched through the CB Series in Australia. He finally got his chance in the tour of Sri Lanka, scoring a fifty in the fifth ODI. Tiwary said he is used to handling such setbacks.
"The mental strength I have derived comes from my tough upbringing, from my background," Tiwary said. "We never had much money. I believe in hard work and leave the rest to destiny. My struggles are nothing compared to some other people. I motivate myself by watching motivational speeches and inspirational videos."
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo