March 9, 2021

'After Gavaskar, haven't seen a better Indian Test opening batsman than Sehwag'

Starting off as a No. 6 batsman in Tests, Sehwag opened the innings for the first time for India during the England tour of 2002, and the rest as they say is history.

It is not much of a secret that it was Sourav Ganguly who was responsible for giving Indian cricket one of its best openers in Virender Sehwag. Sehwag made his India debut under the captaincy of Ajay Jadeja in an ODI against Pakistan in 1999, but it was under Ganguly's leadership that the explosive batsman really came into his own. Starting off as a No. 6 batsman in Tests, Sehwag opened the innings for the first time for India during the England tour of 2002, and the rest as they say is history.

"He was such a big player but didn't get a chance in the batting order. I told him during the England tour, 'no point in sitting in reserves. See if you can open the batting?' He didn't agree to in initially, said he's never done it and is a middle order batsman. But see, from there, he became one of the greatest. After Gavaskar, I haven't seen a better opening batsman in Test cricket in India than him," Ganguly said in an interview with The Republic Bangla.

Ganguly is one of the few Indian cricketers who have excelled in whatever role they've taken up. When he took up India's captaincy amid the match-fixing scandal, he became one of the country's best skippers of all-time. Later on, after retiring, Ganguly established himself as a wonderful commentator before embarking on administrative roles. He served as the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal after the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya and is now the president of the BCCI.


Ganguly's mind harked back to the year 2000, when he was appointed captain of the Indian cricket team. India were coming off a horrendous tour of Australia, where they'd lost all three Tests and won just one match in the tri-series under Sachin Tendulkar. Furthermore, India even lost the Test series at home 0-2 to South Africa before a change in guard took place.

"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."


Input: hindustantime

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