At 40, Dinesh Mongia’s cricket career is as good as over but the former India batsman is relying on the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) change in stance to hear his plea.
Mongia was a regular in the Indian team in the early 2000s and represented the Men in Blue in 57 ODIs and a solitary T20I between 2001 and 2007 before his ouster from the team coincided with the launch of the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).
Like several out-of-favour Indian players, the southpaw also joined the league and plied his trade for Chandigarh Lions. However, with the ICL being an unsanctioned league — the BCCI and the ICC didn’t approve it.
Later, when the league was disbanded and the BCCI extended amnesty to the Indian players, Mongia, who was suspended by the ICL in 2008 due to undisclosed disciplinary reasons, did not get the favour.
However, Mongia now wants the BCCI to be lenient towards him and citing former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin’s example, said:
“I hope someone in the BCCI hears my case just as they have Mohammad Azharuddin’s.”
Mongia’s career took a disastrous turn when former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent, in 2015, in his testimony before the Southwark Crown Court in England alleged that Mongia was involved in match-fixing.
However, despite the English court letting the accused go due to lack of evidence, the BCCI has not. In fact, Mongia’s career has been in limbo as he has neither been banned from playing first-class cricket nor has he been charged.
“There was no evidence against me. I was the only player not to receive BCCI’s amnesty to the ICL players. Ambati Rayudu earned a reprieve (for signing up with ICL) and went on to play for India,” he was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
Mongia is one of the handfuls of players who have not returned to mainstream cricket after plying their trade in the ICL. While the likes of Ambati Rayudu and Stuart Binny went on play for India, Mongia is yet to receive amnesty.
“Is it not strange that the BCCI never banned me but has not responded to my requests to clear my dues? I have written to the BCCI and PCA (Punjab Cricket Association) but have not heard from them,” he said.
Mongia was a versatile cricketer and was preferred by captain Sourav Ganguly ahead of VVS Laxman in ODIs. He scored 1,230 runs and took 14 wickets with his part-time left-arm spin in 50-over cricket.