New Delhi: Dinesh Mongia hopes to translate his recent success in One-day cricket into runs in Tests when he accompanies Saurav Ganguly's India on the West Indies tour next week.
The 24-year-old left-hander, who is yet to make his Test debut, showed he was a batsman to watch during the 15 One-day internationals he has played for India. He earned his ticket for the tour with an unbeaten 159 in the series-deciding One- dayer against Zimbabwe at Guwahati last week. Mongia, no relation of discarded wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia, was chosen over younger teammates Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif after Virender Sehwag was ruled out with a shoulder injury. "This is just the beginning of what I hope turns out to be a long career," said Mongia. "I have tried to make the best use of the chances that I have got, but am still to ensure a regular place in the team." Mongia's maiden international century came only after he was asked to open the batting with Ganguly in the absence of the dashing Sachin Tendulkar and Sehwag. In the West Indies, Mongia will have to battle hard to figure in what is already a star-filled batting order that includes Ganguly, Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Venkatsai Laxman and Shiv Das. Mongia, who took three wickets in the second One-dayer against Zimbabwe at Mohali, hopes to further his claims with his left-arm spin bowling. "Bowling is an advantage and I would like to do well with the ball too. Especially in One-day cricket, it is important that you contribute in more ways than one." Mongia was a late starter, taking up cricket seriously only after he was 18. But his potential was noticed quickly and he represented India in an under-19 series against South Africa in 1995. He has been a prolific run-getter in domestic cricket, scoring 4,001 runs in 59 matches at an average of 51.96 with an unbeaten 308 the best of his 13 centuries. Mongia enjoys the reputation of being a gritty batsman, who seldom gifts his wicket away. "One has to know the value of one's wicket. It only takes one ball to get out but a long time to get a big score," the Steve Waugh fan said. India play five Tests and as many One-dayers on the two-month tour of the West Indies from April 5.
No place for Yuvraj, Mongia, Nehra included