Calcutta: Thursday afternoon’s senior national selection committee meeting in Mumbai was probably the quietest since the quintet came together some eight months ago.
“The actual selection process didn’t last much more than half-an-hour,” is what a well-placed source told The Telegraph soon after the Team India XV for next month’s tri-series in Sri Lanka was announced.
Besides Board secretary Niranjan Shah, the selectors (chairman Kiran More, V.B. Chandrasekhar, Bhupinder Singh, Sanjay Jagdale and Ranjib Biswal) had captain Rahul Dravid for company.
[Coach Greg Chappell is on ‘leave’ till August 1.]
Fireworks, in any case, weren’t expected and bottomline is that Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Mongia made a comeback ' they were out for vastly different reasons ' while Rudra Pratap Singh kept his place.
That Mongia, who has been very impressive for Leicestershire through the summer (though he failed to celebrate his call-up, managing just one versus Derbyshire), was in line for a recall and Rudra Pratap could stay on was reported in these columns on Thursday.
It’s no surprise that India A captain Yalaka Venugopal Rao and Robin Uthappa aren’t in the squad.
Apparently, Railways’ Tejinder Pal Singh (a left-hander) ran Mongia close. Eventually, however, the Punjab captain’s left-arm spin tilted the scales his way.
The call-up, after 15 months, couldn’t have come at a better time for the 29-year-old. Moreover, it has shown age isn’t a fixation with More and Co.
Nor, for that matter, Chappell.
“If Mongia performs, there’s a good chance he will be a very strong contender for next year’s World Cup' Wickets in the West Indies, after all, won’t change in the next few months and a batsman who can bowl spin with a degree of proficiency is going to be an asset,” is how somebody in the know put it.
Mongia was a member of the Sourav Ganguly-captained side which made the final of the 2003 World Cup.
Incidentally, Rudra Pratap will be going to Colombo only because Dravid requested the selectors to retain him.
Otherwise, Zaheer Khan would have made yet another comeback.