I don~~t want to replace anybody, says Mongia

Published: Saturday, September 23, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kuala Lumpur: Back in the side after 17 months in the international wilderness, Dinesh Mongia, lone Indian face of defiance in yesterday's spineless surrender against the Aussies, doesn't see himself as a stop-gap replacement for anyone and yearns for his own space in Team India.

Mongia, who came in place of Yuvraj Singh in yesterday's match against Australia, scored 63 off 91 balls and rolled his arm for Andrew Symmonds' wicket, conceding 43 runs in his nine overs.

Talking to UNI before Team India left for Chennai by an evening flight today, Mongia said he was neither desperate nor did he feel it was his last chance to impress the team think-tank.

''No, I wasn't thinking like that. My only focus was to play good cricket, give my 100 per cent ane enjoy the game. Thank God, that I managed to do,'' he said.

Mongia also said that he also enjoyed bowling in his match yesterday.

''I didn't play for last 17 months, so whatever opportunity I got I had to do well. Donning the national colours was a moment of honour for me and I wanted to enjoy every moment of it,'' he said.

In the last World Cup, Mongia had made it to the team at the cost of VVS Laxman and here door opened for him as the team management kept Yuvraj out of the side. Asked if he ever felt the pressure, Mongia said all he wants is to create his own space in the side.

''I don't think like this. I am not replacing Yuvraj Singh, he is a great player and has done very well for India. Similarly, Laxman too is a great batsman who has performed over the years for India.

''I don't want to replace anybody. I just want to create my own space in the team by batting, bowling and fielding well,'' he asserted.

And despite his stellar show yesterday, Mongia is upset that the team could not reach the DLF Cup final.

''Not only me, whole team was disappointed to lose by 16 runs. We have learnt a lot from this,'' he said.

On his personal form, Mongia felt his county cricket stint stood him in good stead.

''I wasn't playing international cricket but I was playing county and domestic cricket. I knew I was playing tough cricket and was performing also. I was enjoying the game. I was always in touch,'' he said.

And apart from cementing his place in the ODI squad, Mongia is also eyeing a place in the Test squad.

''Test cricket is dream of all the players, it's my dream too,'' he said.

Away from the on-field assignments, Mongia had some fun here too.

''Malaysia is a very good place. Harbhajan and myself went to Twin Towers and went up to 73rd floor. That was a great experience.

I did some shopping too and had fun,''he revealed.

Meanwhile, after getting edged out by Australia and West Indies, the Indian team caught evening flight back to Chennai.

The team was supposed to leave on Monday but the loss made the team fly early.

Before leaving, coach Greg Chappell had a three-hour-long meeting with the players in the team hotel.

The coach primarily spoke of the areas to focus in the upcoming Champion's Trophy, according to sources.

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