| Dinesh Mongia
Calcutta: Dinesh Mongia, whose last Team India appearance was 15 months ago (against Pakistan, at the Kotla), stands a good chance of being recalled when the national selectors pick the XV-strong squad for the August 14-29 tri-series in Sri Lanka.
The selectors ' chairman Kiran More, V.B. Chandrasekhar, Bhupinder Singh, Sanjay Jagdale and Ranjib Biswal ' meet in Mumbai on Thursday afternoon.
Captain Rahul Dravid is expected to be there as well, but Greg Chappell is going to be absent. The coach is currently vacationing in the US, where son Stephen (a fighter pilot) is undergoing advanced training.
Chappell’s “thoughts,” though, have already been communicated to More. That was done during the series-winning Kingston Test a shade over a fortnight ago.
Additionally, Dravid and the coach (who ‘rejoins’ on August 1) are on the same wavelength, particularly in matters of selection.
Despite the 1-4 rout in the last one-day series, in the West Indies, a shake-up isn’t on the cards.
Back to left-hander Mongia.
“Mongia has been in excellent form for Leicestershire and more than one selector feels he should be given another chance,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph.
The 29-year-old made a comeback in December 2004, after 20 months in the wilderness, but soon found himself in the dumps again. However, he has consistently been making headlines this summer.
While Mongia hasn’t been outstanding in the limited overs matches (Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy), he has an average of over 50 in the Championship fixtures.
Basically, he’s seen as somebody in form.
Assuming the selectors do pick Mongia, India A captain Yalaka Venugopal Rao will have to miss the trip. He’d, of course, gone to the West Indies two months ago.
If only seven specialist batsmen ' Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Suresh Raina and Mongia ' are selected, then opener Robin Uthappa is also going to be left behind.
For the Bangalorean to keep his place, the number of specialist bowlers has to be six.
If a Zaheer Khan is to be recalled or Rudra Pratap Singh retained, though, then the selectors are bound to pick seven and Uthappa won’t board the flight to Colombo.
It’s the combination factor.
Like Mongia, Zaheer has been in terrific form (60 wickets in the Championship matches and the C&G Trophy) in England, for Worcestershire.
He hasn’t played for India since the tour of Pakistan, earlier this year.
If just six specialist bowlers are selected, then the certainties are: Harbhajan Singh, Ramesh Powar; Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth and Munaf Patel.
Meanwhile, Jagdale may again get the managership: He’d worn the manager’s blazer on the last trip to Sri Lanka, in July-August 2005.
“Nothing is confirmed, but his (Jagdale’s) name is doing the rounds,” informed a well-placed Board sou- rce.
Batsmen: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Mongia;
Wicketkeeper: Mahendra Singh Dhoni;
Spinners: Harbhajan Singh, Ramesh Powar;
Mediumpacers: Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel.
15th player: Robin Uthappa if it’s a batsman; Zaheer Khan/Rudra Pratap Singh if a fifth mediumpacer is desired by the captain.
Dark horse: Left-hander Tejinder Pal Singh.