Former India captain Sourav Ganguly is considered to be one of the greatest openers in ODI cricket history. The left-handed cricketer from Bengal had made his ODI debut in 1991/92 tri-series in Australia featuring India and West Indies but was then dropped for 4 years due to poor performances.
Sourav Ganguly in an interview with Republic Bangla revealed that it was Sachin Tendulkar who made him open in one-day internationals. Ganguly made his India comeback in 1996 when he debuted in Tests in style with two centuries in his first two Tests against England.
Sachin Tendulkar Told Me To Open As We Had No Openers: Sourav Ganguly
The current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly revealed that he started opening in ODIs for India, as then captain Sachin Tendulkar requested him to do so. Ganguly had started playing in the middle order for India in 1996 in ODIs, even though India was struggling to find a decent opener to partner Sachin Tendulkar.
India had tried Vikram Rathour on England tour, Ajay Jadeja, and others, while during the Titan Cup 1996 at home, India gave a debut to Sujit Somsundar and even made Sanjay Manjrekar open as a last-ditch effort to revive his India career. But all of the options failed as Sachin Tendulkar played a lone hand.
That’s when Sachin, who was captaining India in the Titan Cup tri-series featuring Australia and South Africa as well, turned to Sourav Ganguly and asked him to open.
“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 put on 126 runs in their first outing as openers for India, with both batsmen scoring a half-century, it marked the birth of the most successful ODI batting pair in the world.
Going forward, Sachin-Sourav added 6609 runs at an average of 49.32 with 21 century and 23 fifty-plus stands, while opening for India in 136 ODIs. They once held the world record for the highest opening stand with 258 vs Kenya in 2001.