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Why Tendulkar always forced Ganguly to take strike while opening in ODIs

Tendulkar Ganguly
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Sourav Ganguly, speaking to Mayank Agarwal on the show Open Nets With Mayank, revealed hilarious tales of how his long-time opening partner Sachin Tendulkar always forced him to take strike in ODIs, invariably finding reasons to be at the other end while Ganguly faced the innings’ first ball.

Tendulkar and Ganguly formed one of the most prolific batting partnerships in the modern game, scoring 8,227 ODI runs together, the most by any pair in the format. They opened the batting together in 136 ODI innings, posting 21 century partnerships, their highest stand being worth 258.

Interestingly, Tendulkar, who opened in 340 innings across his ODI career, only took first strike in 47 of those, while Ganguly stood at the non-striker’s end in only 76 of his 236 innings as an opener.

“Always he did [stand at non-striker’s end]”, Ganguly said, when asked if there was any truth in the story. “And he had an answer to that, and I used to tell him,  ‘Sometimes you also face the first ball, I am always facing the first ball’. He had two answers to it – one, he believed when his form was good, it should continue at the non-striker’s end, and when his form wasn’t good he said ‘I should be at the non-striker’s end because it takes the pressure off me’.”

Ganguly, who is the incumbent BCCI president, went on to reveal how he cheekily found a way to reverse roles with his opening partner. “So he had an answer to both – good form and bad form – until one day you walked past him and stood at the non-striker’s end, and he was already on TV and he would be forced to be at the striker’s end. It has happened one or two times, I just walked past him and stood at the non-striker’s end!”

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