Tag Archives: Dinesh Mongia

Possible India-A Team (Edit)

Given the recent comments on this blogsite on my original post on this topic, below is a fuller list of potential India-A players.

Virender Sehwag, Aakash Chopra, Robin Uthappa, Shikar Dhawan

Middle-order bats:
Dinesh Mongia, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Kaif, S. Badrinath, Venugopala Rao, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli

Wicket Keepers:
Parthiv Patel, Puneet Bisht

Munaf Patel, Ajit Agarkar, V Yo Mahesh, Rakesh Patel, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Joginder Sharma, V. R. V. Singh

Harbhajan Singh, Rajesh Pawar, Piyush Chawla, Murali Kartik, K. P. Appanna, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Sayyed Iqbal Abdulla, Shahbaz Nadeem

Given this scenario, it is possible for us to construct an India-A and an India-B as follows (each with 16 players in them):

Virender Sehwag
Shikar Dhawan
Dinesh Mongia
Mohammed Kaif
S. Badrinath
Suresh Raina
Parthiv Patel
Piyush Chawla
Ajit Agarkar / V Yo Mahesh
V. R. V. Singh / Ashish Nehra
Murali Kartik / K. P. Appanna / Sayyed Iqbal Abdulla / Shahbaz Nadeem

Aakash Chopra
Robin Uthappa
Cheteshwa Pujara
Venugopala Rao / Rohit Sharma
Manoj Tiwary / Virat Kohli
Puneet Bisht
Irfan Pathan
Harbhajan Singh
Rakesh Patel / Joginder Sharma
Rajesh Pawar / Pragyan Ojha / Amit Mishra
Munaf Patel

The one other player that perhaps could be added is Gagan Khoda. But that would be at the exepense of one of the lefties — perhaps Abdulla…

— Mohan

Composition of India-A Teams

I was recently reading this interview in The Hindustan Times by Dilip Vengsarkar, the Indian Chairman of Selectors. There was a comment by Vengsarkar on the composition of India-A sides that got me thinking.

Vengsarkar said that in his view, “the BCCI must organise [India-A tours] on a war footing“. I don’t think any Team India fan would disagree with him on that view. I am not sure if the BCCI is listening though! There is no reason why India-A should not be continually on tour to some part of the globe. An alternative would be for India-A and India-B to constantly play against each other! Why not? How else would you know if, for example, Munaf Patel has tested himself in a match situation?

Vengsarkar then says that, in his opinion, “the right age group would be the under-25s“.

I am not sure I agree with that view. I think India-A should include players who are on the fringes of national-team selection and if they happen to be under 25 years of age, then so be it.

If we take the current Team India that is in the UK as the representative team of the moment, then we can think of the following players who are on the fringes of national selection (for Tests matches).

Virender Sehwag, Aakash Chopra, Gautam Gambhir

Middle-order bats:
Dinesh Mongia, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Kaif, S. Badrinath, Venugopala Rao, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Robin Uthappa

Wicket Keepers:
Parthiv Patel, Puneet Bisht

Munaf Patel, Ajit Agarkar, V Yo Mahesh, Rakesh Patel, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Joginder Sharma, V. R. V. Singh

Harbhajan Singh, Rajesh Pawar, Piyush Chawla, Murali Kartik, K. P. Appanna

I may have missed some names. If I have, please add them to the Comments section and I will update this list a few days later…

Note that only some of these 27 players are under-25. But most of them are often mentioned in the context of being on the verge of consideration of national duties. I think that a subset of this set of players should constantly play either in some part of the world or in India against each other. That is the only way to (a) keep the seniors honest, (b) ensure that people like Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel are match-fit, (c) ascertain true bench strength, (d) sharpen match skills of players in a slightly higher-intensity setting than the Ranji Trophy setting.


— Mohan

First steps on a long road to recovery…

Team India took a few strong steps on its road to recovery after her exit from the World Cup 2007 Tournament left her many fans in a state shock and disbelief.

India first beat Ireland and then, South Africa. The 2-1 win over South Africa must give the team hope, resolve and confidence. The matches were played in Ireland in conditions that would have probably suited South Africa’s game more than it did, India’s. Moreover, India were without some of their key players for all three games. And let’s not forget that South Africa is currently the #2 ranked ODI team in the world — to India’s sixth.

But the road to recovery is long and it is arduous. Sterner tests await — first against Pakistan and then against England.

Moreover, I believe that this tour has not answered as many questions as it ought to have.

In the main, the one un-answered issue is around team-balance. There seems to me to be some confusion on whether or not the team goes in with 4-bowlers or 5-bowlers. At the risk of sounding like a boring parrot, I think that this is where the lack of an all-rounder option hurts the team. If only Irfan Pathan was in better form/fitness. If only Dinesh Mongia was more consistent (or had someone in the team-think-tank whose trust he had). If only.

This dilly-dallying can hurt the team and its long-term chances badly.

It seems to me that the team has almost decided on Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar as its main two bowlers. The team will chose between R. P. Singh and Sree Sreesanth for the 3rd seamer. While this is fine, in theory, this reliance on Agarkar is somewhat frightening to me. One just can’t predict which of the Agarkars will turn up on match day! The sooner Team India makes up its mind on this, the better things will be, in my view! The back-up bowling strength looks strong — even considering Ishant Sharma’s not-too-bright start. With Ishant Sharma, Ranadeb Bose, Munaf Patel and Rakesh Patel waiting in the wings, one could suggest that there is reasonable bench strength. Moreover, in Piyush Chawla and Romesh Powar, India has two steady spin bowlers. They will be tested severely in the game against Pakistan though. One mad over to Afridi or Pietersen may be enough to wreck either of these two spinners! It will be good to see how they fare in that game. Neverthelsee, signs are there that the bowling is pulling things together. They need to bowl in the right areas and with far greater discipline. Hopefully the appointment of Venkatesh Prasad is helping here.

It seems to me that the team has reverted to the old-firm of Tendulkar-Ganguly at the top. While that is fine in theory, I’d need to see the middle-order play with more fire and grit than it had in the past when Tendulkar and Ganguly fell cheaply and early. The last match yielded some signs that, with Dravid coming in at #4 and with a more responsible Yuvraj and a dependable Karthik to follow, there are promising signs for the future. For this reliance, Yuvraj’s role is extremely vital. He has to be the clinical finisher that Michael Bevan was; the finisher that Mike Hussey is! But there are signs of the batting holding together. However, one swallow does not make a summer. Time will tell whether reverting to the Ganguly-Tendulkar old-firm is a good move. If Tendulkar and Ganguly open, it is in my view necessary for Dravid to come in at #4 to hold things together in the face of a mini-collapse. This then makes the role of the #3 quite crucial. And this is where, I think, the team needs to invest.

And this brings into question Gautam Gambhir’s role! I am not sure if his role has been either decided or clarified. He seems to me to be caught in a shall-I-attack or shall-I-defend frame mind. And this results in a rabbit-caught-in-headlights type situation. Not the best situation for anyone to be in.

Oh! How we yearn for a fit and strong Irfan Pathan at #3! The advantage of a person like Pathan at #3 is that, along with the 4 other bowlers (8, 9, 10 and 11) he will make the bowling complement. Moreover, he has the ability to hit out — if the start has been brisk — or buckle down with tight defense — in the event of a disaster start.

And mind you, we haven’t talked yet of a fit and fighting Virender Sehwag!

Sigh! If wishes were horses, pigs would fly!


Rebuilding India – Drawbacks on the bowling front!

Yes, we have won the series and, yes the batting which has been the talking point for a while, has clicked, even though sloppily and sluggishly at times. As many have pointed on other blogs, this series was meant to favor India despite the WC loss. Despite the yo-yo(ness) in our batting, I do not believe that has been of concern. Strategically, it really does not matter if Gambhir, Uthappa, Tiwary, Mongia, Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Venugopala Rao etc. play. For the time being (at least till the next world cup) it does not seem necessary to seriously disturb the seniority in the side. You should have a combination of Dravid, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Tendulkar, Ganguly, or even Kaif play in the side. What really concerns me is the bowling department. This not just in the one dayers but more importantly in the tests. (Te batting seems even more solid and set in the tests, no concerns whatsoever!).

We do not have a match winner in the side!!One who can bowl a side out twice (or once in a one day). We can afford to give away 240-250 runs to a side like Bangladesh on a consistent basis. With Kumble on his way out and Harbajan findings ways to find his way out, the situation is pretty grim. I like what I see in Piyush Chawla (so does Bruce Yardley for what it is worth) but he isn’t there yet. Zaheer may have improved leaps and bounds but he still is a mystery to me. Sreesanth is a song and dance kid. Munaf Patel is good but does not inspire. Romesh Powar is rated well, but I fail to see anything more than the real good ones in Chennai leagues. I really do hope that this factor is addressed and dealt with soon.

Any thoughts!

– Srikanth

The positives from yesterday’s win

It was a jittery win. Bruce Yardley commentating in the match said at the start of the 34th over “India have played badly for 80 overs but they can still win it in the last 14” and that is exactly what happened. What are the positives that we can take from the game yesterday?

1. Dinesh Karthik – Firstly I am happy that Dravid did not thrust him with too much responsibility by promoting him up the order. Karthik played very calmly and upped the tempo just when necessary. There was a tendency to play across the line against the left armers, the pitch was so slow that he manged it very well. He did not panic at any stage and got India home easily in the end.

2. Mahendra Singh Dhoni – He is special and only proved it again yesterday. He may have chosen the wrong time in the Word Cup to fail but yesterday, hampered by cramps, after being promoted to no 3, came with a match winning performance. Again to quote Bruce Yardley when Dravid’s wicket had just fallen, “If India has to win from here Dhoni is the one they have to look to play the match winning knock.”

3. Dinesh Mongia – His bowling is invaluable in sub continental wickets. He showed it again yesterday by picking up wickets and adding that extra. If he can consistently bowl 6/7 overs in a game, something that the more inconsistent likes of Sachin, Sehwag and Yuvraj were doing, it will add tremendous depth to the team. He was the guy who should have gone in place of Pathan but that is another story. I was also happy that Dravid did not promote him to no 3 yesterday.

– Sanjay

India win, but not convincingly

The India Bangladesh series has generated a lot of interest in India, with it being billed as the revenge series and so on. No matter how improved Bangladesh are or how poorly India have played recently, India were still outright favourites to win the series. However, the way they played wouldn’t have filled the already jittery Indian fans with confidence.

My main interest in the series was to see how the new comers fare and to see how well India rebound from their WC debacle. There were no newcomers in sight and it seems the scars left on the players with the WC loss have still not healed. 

Tiwary has already gone back home and Chawla will have to wait another day to make his ODI debut. Although the team did not have 4 people from the WC squad, it had the same familiar faces…and there were the same familiar performances from the likes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Mongia and Zaheer.

Sehwag again flattered to deceive, scoring 4 boundaries of 5 balls and getting out to the next ball – a slower one. Yuvraj went for one. Dravid, Mongia and Gambhir didn’t score too many runs either. Sreesanth had earlier limped off the field after having bowled just 5 overs, while Zaheer Khan conceded 54 runs of 7 overs (inspite of 1 maiden over).

India were eventually saved the blushes by it’s two wicket keeper batsmen – Karthik apparently played a very mature innings (58 of 60) and so did Dhoni (91 of 106), who had cramping in his legs and had to bat with a runner. In the end India did win, but not convincingly.

Pick your game up, India and start playing good, tough cricket – you owe it to yourself as much as you owe it to us – your supporters.


Team India for Bangladesh…

The teams for the ODIs and Tests against Banglaesh has been announced by the selectors today.

ODI squad: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary, Dinesh Mongia, Piyush Chawla, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh.

Test squad: Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid (capt), VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Anil Kumble, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, VRV Singh, Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar, Munaf Patel.

There are a few eye-raisers and a few good moves, in my view.

Good moves:

  • Bringing Dinesh Mongia and Manoj Tiwary in for the ODIs.
  • Dropping Virender Sehwag from the Test team.
  • Dropping Harbhajan Singh and Ajit Agrakar from both Tests and ODIs.
  • Dropping Irfan Pathan from both forms of the games.
  • Three spinners in the Test Squad

The eye-raisers:

  • The biggest eye-raiser is the dropping of Tendulkar from the ODIs. They have ‘spun’ it as “resting”, but I don’t, for one, believe it. He is playing with fire in the Twenty20 tournament and this dropping sends a silly message, especially when Virender Sehwag has been taken.
  • Retaining Ganguly for the Test squad rather than the ODIs.
  • Not including Ramesh Powar in the ODI squad ahead of Piyush Chawla in the ODIs.
  • No specialist opener for the Tests apart from Wasim Jaffer. This is a retrograde move. They are using Dinesh Karthik as opener. Although he opened in South Africa, this is not a great move. I have a feeling that Gautam Gambhir’s name was wrongly included in the ODIs instead of the Test team!

Overall this is an averrage effort.

— Mohan

Two teams :: Mixed signals from the selectors…

The Indian selectors have been giving mixed signals. Today we hear reports that the selectors are going to stand up to the BCCI and select “seniors” for the tour of Bangladesh. This has already been highlighted in the earlier News Brief by Mahesh.

Although we had suggested a possible team to Banglaedsh on this blogsite a few days back, in light of the recent communication from the selectors, it is worth a re-look. Particularly in light of the communique from the BCCI on fielding (and maintaining) two India teams regularly, it is worth looking at the composition of two teams: Team India and India-A.

In doing this, I will draw heavily on the fascinating series of articles that Mahesh Krishnan is developing on Future Team Prospects. So far, this series has three articles (I, II and III) and I have no doubt that there will be more.

In the scenario that seniors are being retained in the team, I think it would be a wise move to use the India-A team to include players who are on their way up as well as those that are on the way down (either into oblivion or into regaining form).

With that as a scenario, and with ODIs as the context, if we then look at Team India for the World Cup, I think players like Virender Sehwag, M. S. Dhoni, Ajit Agarkar and Harbhajan Singh would find themselves in India-A along with a few young guns. I’d vote for Virender Sehwag leading India-A!

The two teams could then be:

Team India (in batting order):
Sachin Tendulkar
Sourav Ganguly / Robin Uthappa
Rahul Dravid (captain)
Manoj Tiwary
Yuvraj Singh
S. Badrinath / Dinesh Mongia / Irfan Pathan
Dinesh Karthik
Romesh Powar
S. Sreesanth / R. P. Singh
Munaf Patel
Zaheer Khan

India-A (in batting order):
Virender Sehwag (captain)
Gautam Gambhir
Suresh Raina / Cheteshwar Pujara
Venugopal Rao / Rohit Sharma
Mohammed Kaif
M. S. Dhoni
Joginder Sharma
Ajit Agarkar / Ranadeb Bose
Harbhajan Singh
Piyush Chawla / Rajesh Pawar
V. R. V. Singh / Ishant Sharma

Team India has 15 players. I have, however, included 16 players in India-A. As long as the two teams are constantly occupied, players could easily move from one team to the other to back-fill, when necessary.

My Team India above has Dinesh Mongia in it. I rate him highly. He may have screwed a few opportunities he was given, but I think he is a clever cricketer. He bowls tightly and could be very useful in the 20-20 World Cup later this year in South Africa. Hence his presence.

A legitimate case may be mounted for Irfan Pathan to slide into India-A. However, I have him in Team India… just.

M. S. Dhoni, Ajit Agarkar, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh have been moved to India-A to serve out their “penance” for their World Cup performances. They may work themselves into form in this team or work themselves out of the frame.

In my view, India is suffering in the spin department. Hence the presence of Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla and Rajesh Pawar in the India-A team. India should look to blood its next generation of spinners via this route. Rajesh Pawar is highly regarded. Both he and Piyush Chawla have age on their side. Murali Kartik does not find a place in my India-A team.

As a matter of priority, BCCI should attempt to keep India-A as busy as Team India — if not busier. That is the only way to build and test bench strength.

— Mohan

ODI team for Bangladesh – Ranji ODI stats giving some pointers?

As we have already started speculating about the ODI team to Bangladesh I just pulled up some stats from the Ranji ODI competition. This is the stats according to most runs scored for the top 10 batsmen.

Mat I NO Runs HS Ave SR 100 50 Ct St Team

W Jaffer 7 7 1 394 170* 65.66 84.18 2 1 2 – BOM
K Goel 7 6 1 369 111 73.80 74.69 1 3 3 – PNJB
BM Rowland 7 7 2 341 102* 68.20 87.66 2 1 2 – KNTKA
M Kaif 6 6 1 340 151* 68.00 88.77 2 1 3 – UP
SA Asnodkar 5 5 1 325 104 81.25 72.06 1 3 1 – GOA
D Mongia 7 6 1 299 97 59.80 81.91 – 3 4 – PNJB
G Gambhir 6 5 0 296 116 59.20 87.05 2 – 2 – DELHI
RG Sharma 7 7 0 296 102 42.28 82.91 1 1 5 – RAJ
AS Jain 6 6 1 286 95 57.20 69.24 – 2 – – RAJ
S Badrinath 7 7 2 278 120 55.60 87.69 1 1 4 – TN

From the above I really want to see Jaffer in the team. I think Mogia also should come in. Rohit Sharma does not seem to have scored in this competition, but he has done a lot this year apparently and he can bowl usefully.. I think Kaif may also get a call again. Though Tewary is not in the above list, he has done more than enough this year. The no 2 on the list Karan Goel is very young and is only 20.

Jaffer, Uthappa, Tewary, Dravid, Yuvraj, Mongia, Dhoni/Karthik, Powar, Munaf, Zaheer, Sreesanth, with Ranadeb Bose and Gambhir completing the 14. What say?

– Sanjay