New Delhi: Long before people had heard of Virender Sehwag, India had Krishnamachari Srikkanth, who on his day had the ability to take any attack to the cleaners. For many, Srikkanth was way ahead of his times and having played most of his cricket in an era that was known for its fast bowling potency, opening the batting wasn’t the most attractive job opportunity.

But Srikkanth at times made it look like a walk in the park. In one such incident, during an ODI against Sri Lanka in the mid-eighties he had hit former Sri Lanka fast bowler Ashantha de Mel for four boundaries in an over. Former India captain and regarded as one of the best openers to have ever played the game, Sunil Gavaskar had the best seat in the house to watch that onslaught.

Standing at the non-strikers’ end, Gavaskar had the privilege of watching that knock and the little master could not help but bow down to Srikkanth, who was in his elements that day.

Srikkanth had played 43 Test matches for India and scored 2062 runs at an average of 29.88. The 61-year-old had a more successful one-day career, having played 146 matches and scored 4091 runs at an average of 29.01 but it was his strike rate of 71.74 in the shorter format of the game that was more than impressive, considering the times he had played in.

Gavaskar and Srikkanth had opened the batting for India on 55 occasions, scoring 1680 runs at an average of 30.54 that consisted of two century-run stands and 11 fifty-plus partnerships. They are the fifth most successful opening pair in ODIs after Sachin Tendulkar-Sourav Ganguly, Shikhar Dhawan-Rohit Sharma, Tendulkar-Virender Sehwag and Sehwag-Gautam Gambhir.