When Sachin Tendulkar once became the opening batsman in ODIs he started breaking every batting record. Team India made full use of the incredible talent Tendulkar had and allowed him to bat at the top order. Similarly when Virender Sehwag made his debut in 2001 and his range of shots and ability with the bat instantly impressed the little master.
Former India wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra reveals that the credit for Sehwag’s success at the opening position should be given to Tendulkar. Ratra explained that Tendulkar volunteered to bat at No.4 so that Sehwag can showcase his talent more at the top. Sehwag in 2002 started opening with skipper Ganguly as Tendulkar like Test matches came out to bat at 4.
Tendulkar sacrificed to let Sehwag open – Ajay Ratra
Ratra said, “Sachin was doing so well as an opener at that time but Sehwag had to open. So Sachin offered to bat at No.4. Sehwag then opened with Dada for that left and right combination. If Sachin hadn’t agreed then Viru probably would have had to bat lower. He wouldn’t have got the chance to open in ODIs and the story could have been a lot different.”
He added, “Sachin took a different role. He volunteered to bat at No.4.He did it for the side. His role was then to bat till the 45th over. And the move worked, Viru became so successful at the top”.
“A lot of the times, Viru is called unconventional but if his natural instinct was stopped then it might have been a different story. So Viru had the support to go for his shots and had that liberty. It is very important to back these players. Yes, people used to advise him when he used to play bad shots but he was never told to change his game”, said Ratra in a chat with Hindustan Times.
Virender Sehwag ultimately became a destructive opening batsman in both formats of the game. After Sourav Ganguly’s retirement, the pair of Tendulkar and Sehwag started opening permanently and won India countless matches. Sehwag in his ODI career scored 7518 runs out of 8273 runs that also included 14 tons as an opening batsman.