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Former India openers divided on Tendulkar's spot in the ODI batting line-up

Saturday, November 22, 2021

The Big Split?

Sai Mohan

Mumbai: India's master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is back in the one-day squad for the first time since he played a part in the CB Series final series in Australia earlier this year. It is more or less by default that he would regain 'his' opening slot.

However his return to the playing XI has stirred a huge debate – should the team alter with the tremendously successful opening duo of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag in order to accommodate Tendulkar as an opener in the team?

It is no secret that the Mumbai batsman has enjoyed the opening slot. So the popular verdict ahead of the Bengaluru ODI is the obvious one. Tendulkar opens the batting alongside Sehwag and Gambhir slips to no.3 in the order.

Most of India's recent success can be directly attributed to the phenomenal success of Sehwag and Gambhir batting together.

So is it fair to split the combination? The house is divided on the issue.

"It is not good to disturb this opening duo of Gambhir and Sehwag. They have phenomenal understanding when they bat together. I know that Sachin has done remarkably well as an opener but since we are planning for the future, we should persist with Sehwag and Gambhir," said former India opener Anshuman Gaekwaed.

"It is better to continue with Sehwag and Gambhir at the top. But Tendulkar is a senior batsman and if he wants to open, they should let him do so. If he is confident of doing well at the top, then he will. Even if it means changing the order a little bit, it doesn't matter too much. He has achieved so much and deserves that slot," said former India opener Sadagoppan Ramesh.

If Dhoni does 'request' Tendulkar to come down the order, what repercussions could it have? It would mean that Suresh Raina (who has averaged 48 since the Kitply Cup) would have slipped down the order; Rohit Sharma would most certainly get the axe and Yuvraj Singh may have to bat at 5 or 6. Tendulkar's record at 3 and 4 are below par.

"I don't think it matters much to a player of Tendulkar's quality. He can bat at any number. Ideally he should bat at number 4. He should hold the innings together and ensure that the team does not collapse," added Gaekwad.

''I would rather have Gambhir in the middle-order because he is a fantastic player of spin bowling and runs the hard twos and threes. Tendulkar deserves the cushion of the powerplay. He should not be doing the hard running. He should give India flying starts and Gambhir can come at 3 or 4 and help build a big total," said Ramesh. 


Sachin-Sehwag partnership
62 | Runs: 2605 | HS: 182 | Avg: 42 | 100s: 9

Sehwag-Gambhir partnership
21 | Runs: 1157 | HS: 155 | Avg: 55 | 100s: 3

Sachin as an opener:
ODIs: 298 | Runs: 13245 | HS: 186* | Avg: 48 | 100s: 38

Sachin at no.4:
65 | Runs: 2059 | HS: 140* | Avg: 38 | 100s: 4

Sachin at no.3:
11 | Runs: 92 | HS: 31 | Avg: 10 

Discuss: Tendulkar's return to ODIs