Former India batsman Dinesh Mongia has called time on his cricket career on September 17, 2019. Mongia is best remembered for being picked over VVS Laxman in the Indian squad for the ICC World Cup 2003 in South Africa, where the Men in Blue ended up as runners-up, after being defeated by Australia in the finals.
Mongia, who hailed from Punjab, made his debut for the state in 1995-96, was a prolific run-getter in the domestic circuit. The left-handed batsman was also a capable left-arm spinner who plied his trade effectively in the English county cricket as well, where he was signed by Lancashire in 2004 in place of Stuart Law and then in 2005, Leicestershire signed him for a full-time contract. He has also made appearances for the Lashings XI team as well.
Mongia’s ICL connection and hard days after India career ends
Dinesh Mongia made 8028 runs in 121 FC matches at an average of 48.95 and the best score of 308* with 27 centuries and 28 half-centuries. He amassed 5535 runs in 198 List-A games with 10 centuries and 26 fifties. He made his India debut in 2001 in Pune ODI against Australia but came into prominence for his 159* against Zimbabwe in just 147 balls.
Kinks in his technique were exposed on tours to New Zealand and England and after a below-par performance in the 2003 World Cup, he was dropped from the team in 2005, with his last match coming against Bangladesh in 2007. He also appeared in India’s first-ever T20I match against South Africa in 2006. He played 57 ODIs making 1230 runs with one century and in the sole T20I, he made 38 runs.
However, his connection with the much-maligned Indian Cricket League (ICL), left him without much support once BCCI managed to force the unsanctioned league to draw its curtains down. “Those were hard days,” recalled Mongia, who was quoted as saying by The Hindu. Most players banned by the Board for their association with the ICL were granted amnesty but Mongia remained the lone cricketer who was kept out of the official circuit.
However, he was made a State selector by the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) last season, which he sees as amnesty from BCCI and is looking forward to taking up coaching assignments.
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