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While the former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was one of the greatest ODI opening batsmen, the former Indian cricketer and coach Madan Lal recently revealed how he encouraged Ganguly to open the innings rather than continuing his middle-order batting.
The left-handed batsman Sourav Ganguly was the third cricketer to score 10,000 ODI runs as he scored 11363 runs in 311 ODIs (average 41.02). Meanwhile, as an opener, Ganguly scored 9146 ODI runs (average 41.57), and he is currently the fifth most ODI run-scorer as an opener.
Though in his early career, Ganguly generally batted in the middle-order or at the no.3 position, Madan Lal recently revealed how he encouraged him to open in the ODI cricket during his coaching tenure. The joint second-most wicket-taker in India’s successful 1983 World Cup campaign wanted to utilise Ganguly fully.
In the Facebook Live session, Lal recently said, “We wanted to utilise Dada. I don’t know if he remembers or not. I told him ‘Dada, nothing will happen batting at no. 5. You should directly open’.”
Ganguly first time opened in the international cricket during the Jaipur ODI against South Africa on 23rd October 1996. In that game, Ganguly patiently scored 54 runs off 104 balls. Since then, he followed the opening batting majorly till the end of his ODI career.
Sourav Ganguly had all the strokes: Madan Lal
Madan Lal was impressed with Ganguly’s ability to play all kind of strokes. As Ganguly plays better cricket if he spends some times in the crease, Lal believed Ganguly could utilise himself as an opener.
Lal added, “Every player has his own style. Ganguly had all the strokes. Every batsman needs some time to settle in. If you play out a few overs with just one-two runs, because you need to get set to the conditions. Even today, batsmen like Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane take some time.
“So, I told him, he was like ‘okay’. And then he never looked back. Sachin and Sourav’s partnership has been really popular for India – the two won a lot of matches for India. I was a coach at the time. I vaguely remember I might have told him this during the Sri Lanka tour.”
While the partnership of Sourav Ganguly-Sachin Tendulkar is still holding the record of most partnership runs in ODI history (8227 runs), their partnership is also on top position in the most opening partnership runs in ODI history (6609 runs).