Dada, nothing will happen batting at No.5: Madan Lal reveals how he convinced Sourav Ganguly to open
World Cup-winning fast bowler and former India coach Madan Lal revealed the role he played in convincing Sourav Ganguly to open the innings for India in limited-overs cricket.
Madan Lal said the team management wanted to utilise Sourav Ganguly's potential to the fullest and he approached him with his plan to which the former India captain immediately agreed.
Madan Lal, who played a key role in helping India win the 1983 World Cup, served as India's head coach between 1996 and 1997.
"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'," Madan Lal said during a Facebook live session with Sportskeeda.
"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,"?Lal said.
"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."
One of the finest opening batsmen to have played the sport, Sourav Ganguly did not begin his career as an opener. Ganguly had played 10 ODIs before he first opened the batting against South Africa in Jaipur in 1996. The left-handed batsman made an immediate impact with a half century and went on to play most of his celebrated career at the opening spot.
Ganguly went on to play 236 out of 311 matches at the opener's spot and scored more than 9000 runs in ODIs. He hit 19 hundreds and his partnership with Sachin Tendulkar, as Madan Lal pointed out, is one of the game changers for Indian cricket. Tendulkar and Ganguly still hold the record for most runs as a pair in ODIs -- 8227.