5 Indian players who have opened the batting and the bowling in the same ODI


Irfan Pathan

Remember the pride you felt when you got a chance to open the batting and the bowling for your team while playing cricket as a kid? Now imagine doing the same for the country.

Yes, there have been numerous instances when a player has opened the bowling as well as the batting in the same match in ODI cricket. You need to be a multi-faceted cricketer to be able to achieve this feat, and many of the world's great all-rounders have taken up the mantle at some point or the other.

For India however, all-rounders have always been a rare species. The team has struggled to find players who can contribute both with the bat and the ball consistently.

Having said that, there have been occasions when, depending on the pitch and playing conditions, part-time bowlers were asked to open the bowling. Similarly, at times in the absence of regular openers, the team management took the gamble of letting a bowling all-rounder open the innings.

Here are 5 Indian players who have opened the batting and the bowling in the same ODI:

#5 Roger Binny (2 ODIs) 

Roger Binny

Roger Binny was mostly known for his swing bowling. Binny played 72 ODIs for the Indian team in which he picked up 77 wickets. Because of his ability to swing the new ball, Binny was used a lot in the early overs.

However, very few people know that Binny opened the batting in two ODIs. Both these games were against hosts Australia in the Benson and Hedges World Series 1980-81.

While in the first match Binny scored 31 runs, in the second he managed 21. The great Sunil Gavaskar was Binny's opening partner in both the matches.

India lost both the games and Binny, who was instrumental in the World Cup triumph in 1983, never got a chance to open the innings again. 

#4 Manoj Prabhakar (45 ODIs) 

Manoj Prabhakar

Manoj Prabhakar was a regular member of the Indian ODI side in the early 90s. The Delhi all-rounder was a skillful bowler who was known for his variations and swing bowling, and was often used with the new ball.

Prabhakar has 157 wickets to his name in 130 outings for Team India in ODIs.

Aside from his bowling, Prabhakar was also a more than useful batsman. In 130 ODIs he scored 11 fifties and 2 centuries, with a highest score of 106.

Considering his decent batting record, Prabhakar was occasionally used as an opener by Team India. And even though his strike-rate wasn't the best, he gave India some decent starts.

Prabhakar opened the batting and bowling in the same match in as many as 45 ODIs and he was reasonably successful in that role. His impressive ODI career had a rather gloomy end when he was banned for his alleged involvement in match-fixing.

#3 Irfan Pathan (1 ODI) 

Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan seemed to be the answer to India's search for an all-rounder when he started his career with a bang in 2003.

Pathan initially started as a genuine bowler who could contribute with the bat if needed. He was exceptional with the ball at the start of the innings and annihilated several batting line-ups with his swing bowling.

However, it was under Greg Chappell that Irfan Pathan the all-rounder was unleashed. Batting at number 3, Pathan played some swashbuckling knocks.

In a game played at Kolkata in 2005, the Baroda all-rounder even opened the innings. Unfortunately however, the experiment failed as Pathan failed to open his account. He also failed to take early wickets with the ball as India lost the game by 10 wickets.

Ironically, many believe that Pathan's elevation as an all-rounder led to his downfall as a bowler. He last played an ODI for India way back in 2012.

#2 Virender Sehwag (1 ODI) 

Virender Sehwag

In the initial part of his career, Virender Sehwag bowled regularly for India. The team did not have the luxury of an all-rounder and thus the likes of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid used Sehwag quite often with the ball.

In 2005, India were up against Australia in the 4th game of the ODI series. Australia opened the innings with two left-handed batsmen, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden, which made the Indian skipper Dravid introduce the off-spinner Sehwag early in the innings.

Unfortunately for the Indians, the move didn't pay off as Sehwag failed to get rid of the openers. Things got worse for Sehwag as he was dismissed for a first-ball duck in the pursuit of the huge target of 287, and India eventually lost the game by 77 runs.

This was the first and last instance when Sehwag opened the bowling and batting in the same match for Team India in ODIs.

#1 Kapil Dev (1 ODI)

Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev is unarguably the best all-rounder India has ever produced. He had the ability to win matches single-handedly with the bat as well as with the ball.

Even though bowling was his strongest suit, Kapil also played some dazzling innings with the bat in the lower-order. The Haryana Hurricane batted at number 7 for a large part of his ODI career, but there were times when he played in the top-order.

At the fag end of his career, in the 1992 World Cup, Kapil opened the innings with Kris Srikkanth against Zimbabwe. Kapil hit a mighty six but was dismissed for just 10 runs.

Incidentally, Sachin Tendulkar was also part of that playing XI. Batting at number 4, Tendulkar scored a match-winning 81.

On the bowling front Kapil fared much better as he bowled a tight spell of 4 overs with the new ball, giving away just 6 runs. India won the rain-curtailed game by 55 runs.