Ranji Trophy 2013-14 January 6, 2014

Manoj Tiwary not fit for Bengal's quarterfinal

ESPNcricinfo staff

Manoj Tiwary, the Bengal batsman, will not be fit in time to play his team's Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Railways, which begins on January 8. Tiwary, who is recovering from a knee injury, was named as the 17th member of the Bengal squad, in anticipation of him being declared fit.

Tiwary is having his fitness assessed at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore, but has not ruled out making a comeback in the semis, should Bengal progress.

"The [NCA] physio told me that I need to have at least four to five running sessions, which will be an indicator of how much strength has returned in my knees," Tiwary told PTI. "Today, there wasn't any fitness test but only fitness assessment. As of now I am not available for the quarter-final. I will only make a comeback when I am fully match-fit."

Tiwary was not under too much duress batting in the nets but said his footwork and running between the wickets could suffer if he returns at this point. "There wasn't any discomfort [in the nets] as such, but some of the little things still need to be assessed. I have batted against the spinners but I haven't really used my feet against them at the nets.

"Also, there is running between the wickets where you have to swiftly turn for twos and threes. During the turning, there would be pressure on the knees. The physio needs to assess how my knees are holding up during that pressure. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I will pass the fitness test and be available if Bengal qualify for the semi-final."

Tiwary has undergone two surgeries on his knee, with the injury keeping him out of action for the second half of 2013. He has suffered a succession of injuries of late: he was sidelined after injuring his back in the Ranji Trophy in December 2012 and hurt his shoulder during the Vijay Hazare Trophy in March 2013, just a month after returning to competitive cricket. He was also out of action for week in the IPL 2013 due to a bruised hand. Injuries have also hampered his international career, particularly the shoulder problem he picked up at practice in Bangladesh in mid-2007, on the eve of what would have been his India debut.