The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mongia returns after 20 months
- Sehwag back in XI as Sachin takes a break

Calcutta: The opening one-dayer, in Chittagong, saw Sridharan Sriram make a comeback after four years. On Sunday, it will be Dinesh Mongia's turn to make his first Team India appearance in 20 months.

Actually, but for a 'yes-no' fiasco on the part of the Establishment three-and-half months ago, his comeback would have been in the Champions Trophy itself.

Mongia (then in England, scoring big for Lancashire) was to have been named Sachin Tendulkar's replacement, but that berth eventually went to Rohan Gavaskar.

'Woh to guzaar gaya' Today, I'm just focused on tomorrow' It has been a long wait and, obviously, I wish to make the most of this opportunity,' Mongia told The Telegraph.

Speaking from the team hotel (Sonargaon) in Dhaka, on Saturday evening, the Punjab captain added: 'I've been around for a few years, but I still am quite excited'

Mongia is also 'excited' about a full season with Leicestershire next summer.

Incidentally, his last India appearance too was in Dhaka ' during the tri-series soon after the 2003 World Cup.

Till late on Saturday, though, it hadn't been decided who is going to make way for Mongia. In all probability it will either be vice-captain Rahul Dravid or Sriram.

Given that the (second) ODI is a day-night game, the decision ' part of the very sensible policy of rotation adopted for this series ' may only be made on Sunday morning.

The Team India XI, for the record, is going to see four changes: Virender Sehwag taking Sachin's place, Zaheer Khan coming in for Irfan Pathan, Murali Kartik taking Harbhajan Singh's place and Mongia coming in for a batsman/allrounder.

That Zaheer and Kartik are set to make the XI and Sachin could be rested was reported in these columns on Saturday.

Meanwhile, with Dhaka not exactly being the most exciting metro, coach John Wright, physio Andrew Leipus and trainer Greg King planned to have a 'quiet dinner' to celebrate Christmas.

Wright, by the way, has bought 'computer games and DVDs' for his kids back in New Zealand. 'I'll be playing Santa once I get home (Wellington),' he quipped, talking exclusively.

Footnote: Jagmohan Dalmiya, who continues as the Board president, is going to watch the last two ODIs (back-to-back, the third is also in Dhaka). He will be landing shortly before the second game and, at some point over the two days, may have a one-on-one with Leipus. Unless a 'suitable arrangement' is worked out, the physio's innings ' which began in October 1999 ' is going to end.

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