Flashback: why did Sourav Ganguly swap his no. 4 batting position with Sachin Tendulkar's no. 5?
Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are two Indian cricket icons who created a phenomenon during their heydays of international cricket. They were a famous opening pair, who together has scored 20 centuries, the highest by an opening duo in ODI cricket. They were a combination of trouble for opponents and the foundation of the Indian batting line up. Before Sourav Ganguly lost his feather touch and Virender Sehwag did not announce himself in to the Indian team, the stylish left-handed batsman and Sachin Tendulkar used to have equal fame, even theirs on field partnership made them the best of field friends as well.
When Virender Sehwag entered the team and Sachin had already quit captaincy and Sourav Ganguly was handed the duty of captaincy after the match-fixing scandal things had changed. Sourav could not drop a talented batsman Virender Sehwag from the team, so he asked Sachin to bat at no. 3 and himself opened the innings with Sehwag. Sourav did not open the innings after a few matches, he asked Sachin to back to his favourite position -open the innings with Sehwag. He accommodated himself to no. 3, a position where he has had an average of 52.71. But, he gave up his favourite position opener for the team cause as if he would have opened the innings, then a great opener like Virender Sehwag might have no place in the team.
But, Test cricket was a different situation. Both Sachin and Sourav opened once in their life. Sachin never played at no.3 while Sourav played 18 innings on this position with an average of 47. Both the legends played often on 5th, 6th and even lower 7th in the batting order. But, the position under contention was the No. 4, Sachin Tendulkar earned huge fame playing in that position.
Sourav Ganguly, being the captain never bother to compromise his own interest. Sachin was batting well at no. 5. In 29 innings, Sachin registered 5 centuries and 6 fifties with an average of 59. 69, the best among all positions Sachin Tendulkar played in his career. But, why did he elevated to no. 4?
To know that we have looked back at Sourav Ganguly’s career. Like Sachin, Sourav tried and tested himself in many batting positions. Before, Sachin cemented his position at no. 4, Sourav Ganguly used to bat there and he has an astonishing record. In 20 innings, he scored 1188 runs with three centuries, four fifties and an eye whacking average of 66. Then, why Sourav, check out of the position for Sachin Tendulkar? And similarly why Sachin swap his number 5 position with Sourav Ganguly’s number 4. It is right that Sachin has got his success in 4, but he was also good at number 5.
Sachin Tendulkar’s Test career, performance analysis by batting position
That is an unanswered question. Sourav Ganguly, who is arguably the best captain of Indian cricket history, might have done it to give solidity to Indian innings as Sachin is more technically equipped than him. Sourav, who was better known as ODI batsman, never shied away from scoring runs quickly in Test cricket as well.
Sourav Ganguly’s Test career, performance analysis by batting position
Here we also have to take Rahul Dravid Test career in consideration to know why Sourav Ganguly batted lower in the batting order. Rahul, who in his entire cricket career batted at no. 3 position, but he had been also doing well at no. 4. In 21 innings, he notched up two hundred and six fifties. But, he was elevated to no. 3 by Sourav and team management while Sourav himself decided to bat at no. 5.
If captain Sourav Ganguly struck himself with the conservative idea two all time great batsmen’s careers might get ruined. Big innings were needed, along with impeccable defense. So, Rahul Dravid, who was better known as a Test batsman, cemented his place at no. 3, from where he showed the world his caliber of playing fast bowler and a spinner with sublime skills.
Rahul Dravid’s Test career, performance analysis by batting position
At the same time, Ganguly perhaps wanted to get a psychological edge over bowlers. While, Rahul Dravid used to frustrate bowlers, Sachin also used to do same, but Sachin at the same time could rotate the strike. So, Ganguly banked on their proficiencies, and that also brought success to India’s Test team.
In the year 2000, Sourav Ganguly led India to splendid winning streak. Ganguly also stunned Austalia with his unexpected hundred on a bouncy Gabba pitch, Brisbane to put a fight against the world’s best team Australia. Rahul Dravid scored double hundred in Adelaide while Sachin in Sydney. The series was drawn. A historic achievement, any other Indian captain yet to achieve.
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