There was a time in mid-90s and early-2000s, when India struggled to find quality openers in Test cricket. The emergence of Virender Sehwag put the search to an end. Sehwag, who announced his international retirement on Tuesday, not only became one of the greatest openers in the history of the game but also went on to redefine the batting position.

In India’s over 80 years of Test cricket, the side has produced several quality opening batsmen. From Vijay Merchant to Vinoo Mankad to Sunil Gavaskar to Navjot Singh Sidhu to Virender Sehwag to Gautam Gambhir to Murali Vijay, India have produced several openers of world-class repute. Speaking of the greatest openers the nation has produced, three names top the mind. Merchant, Gavaskar and Sehwag had the greatest impact and all played in different eras and therefore it’s not fair to compare their stats. However, at the end it all comes down to number and let’s have a look at their batting career.

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Merchant and Gavaskar played in a time when strike-rates really didn’t matter but in modern Test cricket that’s what matters a lot and that’s where Sehwag stood out. He scored runs in bulk and scored them quick to give bowlers enough time to go for the 20 wickets. On the other hand, Merchant lost his best cricket years to the war. His First-Class average is second to the great Don Bradman and was among the finest batsmen of his time. Gavaskar, another run-machine, was hailed for his near-perfect technique.

Let’s have a look at their record as opener in international cricket.

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