Former India cricketer Ajay Ratra believes that the credit for Virender Sehwag's promotion as India opener should be shared between Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar.
During an interaction with Hindustan Times, Ratra revealed that Sachin was doing well as an opener but offered to bat at number four so that Sehwag could open with Sourav Ganguly for that left and right combination.
"If Sachin hadn't agreed then Viru probably would have had to bat lower. He wouldn't have got the chance to open in ODIs and the story could have been a lot different," he said.
"Sachin took a different role. He volunteered to bat at No 4.He did it for the side. His role was then to bat till the 45th over. And the move worked, Viru became so successful at the top," Ajay added.
India had lost a few matches of the tri-series to Sri Lanka in 2001 and Sachin was benched due to an injury. It was then that Ganguly sent Yuvraj Singh and Amay Khusariya at the top, but the decision backfired. At that point, it was decided that Sehwag would be promoted as an opener.
In India's third match of the tri-nation series against New Zealand, Sehwag opened the batting with Ganguly. Even though India lost the game, Sehwag scored the most runs (33 runs from 54 balls) for the team. While Sehwag was not too impressive as an opener in the first two games, in the third, he scored a century off 70 balls and cemented his place as an opening batsman.