Tendulkar's opening partnerships with Ganguly and Sehwag among the best in ODI history

Sachin Tendulkar with Sourav Ganguly (left) and Tendulkar with Virender Sehwag © AFP

In the 1990s, batting in one-day cricket was revolutionised by the emergence of a number of attacking openers. While Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana were cannons that bombarded from both ends, Sachin Tendulkar too used the fielding restrictions to his advantage to play his part in changing the modern game.

In Sourav Ganguly and later Virender Sehwag, Tendulkar found the ideal partners to take it to the opposition. While Ganguly and Tendulkar matched each other for every stroke, Sehwag was someone who took a lot of the pressure off him and allowed the maestro to play the sheet anchor role. In the annals of One-Day International (ODI) history, these partnerships would be remembered as one of the most feared and destructive.

Interestingly, both partnerships started off with a hundred run stand in their first association. Tendulkar and Ganguly opened the batting for the first time against South Africa in 1996 and scored 126, while Sehwag and Tendulkar announced their arrival with a 107 run stand against England at Chennai in 2002.
Here are Ganguly and Tendulkar’s numbers while opening the batting in ODIs:

Inngs Runs Avg 50s 100s Highest
136 6609 49.32 23 21 258

Sehwag and Tendulkar’s number’s while opening the batting in ODIs:

Inngs Runs Avg 50s 100s Highest
93 3919 42.13 18 12 182

These are absolutely fantastic numbers which reveals Tendulkar role in two India’s finest opening partnerships in ODIs. But where do they stand on the world stage?

Here is a list of the most prolific opening partnerships in ODIs:

Opening Pair Inngs Runs Avg 50s 100s Highest
Sachin Tendulkar-Sourav Ganguly 136 6609 49.32 23 21 258
Adam Gilchrist-Matthew Hayden 114 5372 48.39 29 16 172
Gordon Greenidge-Desmond Haynes 102 5150 52.55 24 15 192*
Sachin Tendulkar-Virender Sehwag 93 3919 42.13 18 12 182

The two Indian pairs find themselves amongst the top four opening partnerships in the history of one-day cricket. Tendulkar blossomed into a more attacking and consistent batsman once he got a chance to open the batting in ODIs and he couldn’t have done it without the support of his partners. Ajay Jadeja too formed a good partnership with him, but with Ganguly and Sehwag it was a different chemistry. Now, that has put him ahead of the West Indian greats Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes.

Ganguly and Tendulkar are far ahead of Gilchrist and Hayden. An average of 49.32 shows how often they got their act together. On the other hand, the Sehwag-Tendulkar partnership doesn’t boast of a very good average when compared to the others in the table, but that is because the Delhi dasher would often lose his wicket after a great start.

Even though Tendulkar didn’t play too many ODIs in the last few years, there was always the hope of seeing him in the blue jersey and lead India’s charge at the top. That isn’t going to happen again and the cricket world is poorer without his greatness.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44

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