'That's how I became an opener': Ganguly reveals Tendulkar's role in batting order promotion
- Sourav Ganguly has revealed how it was on Sachin Tendulkar's advice that he started opening the batting for India in ODIs.
One half of the most iconic opening pairs in international cricket, Sourav Ganguly has revealed how it was on Sachin Tendulkar's advice that he started opening the batting for India in ODIs. Ganguly, who made a famous Test debut for India at Lord's in 1996, scoring a century, had played 10 ODIs in his career before being promoted as an opener – in the 1996 Titan Cup tri-series. After scoring 31 and 4 in the first two ODIs in the middle order, Ganguly and Tendulkar opened for the first time for India, and the rest as they say, is history.
"Before I started opening in one-day matches, I used to play in the middle order. Sachin came to me and said that you bat at No. 3 in Tests, we do not have an opening batsman, you try and open. I said fine, I'll do it. From there, that's how I became an opener," Ganguly said in an interview with Republic Bangla.
The pair out on 126 runs in their first outing as openers for India, with both batsman scoring half-century, and although India lost the game, it marked the birth of the most successful ODI batting pair in the world. Ganguly and Tendulkar opened the batting 136 times for India in ODIs, scoring 6609 runs at an average of 49.32 with 21 century and 23 fifty-plus stands.
Ganguly also revealed how he was elevated as India's captain in the year 2000. Under Tendulkar, India had endured a morale-flattening tour of Australia, where the team was blanked 0-3 in Tests and won just one match out of 14 in the CB tri-series. Ganguly was appointed captain of the Indian team ahead of the ODI series at home against South Africa, with the former India captain explaining how he took up the responsibility.
"I have this thing that if you give me responsibility, I will give my best shot. I don't know what it is. When Sachin quit captaincy in 1999 (2000), I didn't even know I would be taking charge. Back then Sachin and I were of the same age, no one could think someone other than Sachin could become India's captain. He did not want to do it, so I took over and I did," Ganguly said.