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Sachin -Sourav best: Ian Chappell

On the basis of the quality of the opposition, Tendulkar and Ganguly ahead of Rohit and Virat, says Ian Chappell

By Our Bureau & Agencies in Calcutta/New Delhi

  • Published 23.12.19, 3:40 AM
  • Updated 23.12.19, 3:40 AM
Sourav Ganguly (left) and Sachin Tendulkar
Sourav Ganguly (left) and Sachin Tendulkar (PTI)

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have stacked up astonishing numbers while batting as a pair, but when it comes to facing quality fast bowlers, the celebrated opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly had a far tougher job. Ian Chappell says so.

“An argument could be mounted that Kohli and Sharma are India’s best ever ODI batsmen. The obvious challengers would be the feted combination of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.

Chappell then gave an example how during Sachin-Sourav era, each international team had two quality fast bowlers.

“They (Sachin-Sourav) spent bulk of that time opening together against some of the best fast-bowling combinations. Facing Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis from Pakistan; Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh of West Indies; Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee of Australia; Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock for South Africa; Lasith Malinga and Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka was a serious test of a batsman’s skill.”

Quoting a comment of Imran Khan that “you judge a man by his opponents”, Chappell said: “On the basis of the quality of the opposition, you’d have to lean towards Tendulkar and Ganguly.

“However, if you extrapolate their current figures to give Kohli the same number of innings as Tendulkar, and Sharma the equal of Ganguly, the current pair finish well in front,” he added.

Chappell acknowledged that the one indisputable argument was that Kohli and Sharma are the best ever white-ball combination.

“Their combined ODI and T20I records are excellent, with Kohli — averaging over 50 in both formats — at the unbelievable level. To be fair, Tendulkar played very little T20I cricket and Ganguly’s career was finished by the time the format blossomed,” he wrote.

He said even though Sachin led the way in being the first batsman to score an ODI double-century, Rohit has fine-tuned the art by scoring three doubles. “Indian fans have been extremely fortunate to witness, close up, four of the best short-form batsmen of all time,” Chappell wrote.

“With Tendulkar it was his all-round mastery of the art but he never ceased to amaze with his back-foot forcing shots on bouncy pitches for a man short in stature. When he was going, there was no better off-side player than Ganguly; his drives, so effortlessly played, would pierce even the most crowded cover field.” 

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