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Remembering the forgotten Indian cricketer Dinesh Mongia

Leicestershire Foxes v Somerset Sabres
Dinesh Mongia at the match between Leicestershire Foxes v Somerset Sabres
Modified 04 Sep 2018, 12:41 IST

Indian soil is only known for those legendary right-handed batsmen, who ruled the entire world in their era. Starting from the great Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar, India had many of the rebel child who drew the whole world towards their paved way.

But when I focus on to the southpaws, I found very few, the "Mumbaikar" Vinod Kambli, "Prince of Kolkata" Sourav "Dada"Ganguly, Suresh Raina and the King of Mohali Yuvraj Singh. That's all!!

Once a 5'10" high lad southpaw came to play for India, from Chandigarh; the name "Dinesh" written in his jersey- Dinesh Mongia. One of the fellow "Mongia" previously played for India, named Nayan; but he wasn't a southpaw.

The entire cricketing world then was being ruled by the Australians. The silent southpaw came to play and played a few good innings. With a smooth batting technique and an all-time serious facial expression, he played 57 ODIs & scored 1200+ runs with a century against Zimbabwe.

It's to be noted that Zimbabwe was a very prominent side being led by Heath Streak & that series was 2-2 position. Dinesh took 147 balls to score that unbeaten 159 with the help of 17 fours and a six. India scored 333 with the help of his ton and won that match. He was also the Man of the Series for scoring 263 runs with an average of 65.75 and taking some wickets.

That time, the captain of Indian team, Ganguly used him as a part-time spinner also and he did take a few wickets. These small figures can't judge his talent. Mongia was a heavy run-scorer in domestic cricket with just under 6850 runs at an average of just under 50 and his highest score being an unbeaten 308.

He made his debut on 28th March 2001 against the mighty Aussies at the Nehru stadium, Pune. But, the debut wasn't good enough. Although his talent got some refund when he scored his first half-century (75 balls 71) against England at the historic Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

Soon he got his maiden century at Guwahati against Zimbabwe. The entire crowd gave this innings an applause. Suspicions remained, however, the kinks in his technique could be exposed on more challenging tracks abroad, and indifferent displays in England resulted in him being relegated to a bit-part role in the tours that followed.


In the 2003 World Cup, he played few matches but didn't get chance to bat too much. Soon, he was left out of the squad because of a below-par performance in April 2005. He was again selected in the Indian team in 2006 for the tri-Series in Sri Lanka. However, the tournament was affected by the pull out of the third team, South Africa, due to a bomb explosion in Colombo, and by incessant rain.

Instead, Mongia got an opportunity in the September 2006 tri-series against Australia and West Indies in Malaysia, where he made an unbeaten 63 in the final group game against Australia at the Kinrara Academy Oval, although India lost the game and were unable to reach the final.

In 2004, he signed for Lancashire as an overseas player when Stuart Law was injured. In 2005, he was signed by Leicestershire on a full-time contract.

Dinesh played for the Lashings World XI team. He also played in the rebel T20 league, the Indian Cricket League (ICL) for Chandigarh Lions. Soon after the deformation of ICL the southpaw left the game forever.

But that southpaw, who was a serious weapon & vital part for Dada's plan to play 7 batsmen in 2003 CWC, will be remembered for his awesome batting performances. Maybe he could've got a few more chances abroad.

Published 04 Sep 2018, 12:41 IST
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