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Not Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly picks 'biggest match-winner in our generation'

Not Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly picks biggest match-winner in our generation
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Sourav Ganguly has hailed Virender Sehwag as the "biggest match-winner in that generation" as an opener.

Sourav Ganguly has hailed Virender Sehwag as the "biggest match-winner in that generation" as an opener.

Sehwag has always credited the former Indian skipper for promoting him up the batting order that went on to become the turning point in the explosive batsman's career.

Ganguly chose to drop himself in the batting order to accommodate Sehwag as Sachin Tendulkar's opening partner in the One-Day Internationals (ODIs). While there never were doubts in regards to Sehwag's potential in white-ball cricket, the cricket fraternity was taken aback when Ganguly asked Sehwag to open even in the longest format of the game. The people, who were not sure if Sehwag could succeed in the top, included the Delhi cricketer himself.

However, the gamble worked like magic as Sehwag went on to establish himself as one of the most aggressive and successful openers in Test cricket, He retired with over 7000 runs in Tests cricket as an opener at an average of 49.56 with 19 centuries, 25 fifties and two triple hundreds. Sehwag still remains the only Indian cricket to have scored those many triple centuries in Tests.

"Sehwag was the biggest match-winner in that generation as an opener. I had my own belief. I told him, listen, 'Nobody comes with a batting position. It's how you adjust'. The best players are made when they come out of their comfort zone.

If I had batted at No. 4 or No. 5 in one-day cricket, I would have been half the player. The same with Sachin, he would have scored half the runs he scored if he had batted in the middle. I said, 'just get out of this comfort zone and go and play'," Ganguly revealed to India Today.

"You just have to see the new ball. 10 overs and then it's an old ball. The shine goes off but that's the hard bit. But you're good enough to do the hard bit'," the BCCI chief added.

Sehwag's international career, which spanned across 14 years, saw him become one of the most dangerous openers and overall batsman across formats. He scored 8,586 runs in 104 Tests including 23 tons and 32 half-centuries. He was equally dominant in the shorter format where he amassed 8,273 runs in 251 ODIs at an average of 35.05 including 15 centuries and 38 fifties.

Ganguly went on to add that Sehwag's aggressive approach changed the modern-day idea of batting.

"He was special, one of the best. India rates Sunil Gavaskar as the best opening batsman, very rightly. This man was not far behind. They played differently. One fellow believed in letting the ball go outside the off-stump and making it old. The other one believed in hitting the ball and making it old. But the impact was remarkable," Ganguly further added.

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