Former Indian cricketers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar formed a destructive opening pair for Team India in ODIs between 2002 and 2012. In 93 innings together, the two batsmen scored 3,919 runs at an average of 42.13 and were involved in 12 century stands and 18 half-century partnerships. Both Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar also opened the innings for India in their successful 2011 World Cup campaign. Despite of their success at the top of the order, Virender Sehwag once hilariously recalled the time when former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was against the idea of their alliance at the top of the order.
In an appearance on the show What The Duck in June 2018, both Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar recalled their careers and unravelled some of the funniest secrets that stayed within the team for years. Similarly, Sehwag recalled the time during the 2003 World Cup when the then Indian captain Sourav Ganguly probably not being open to the idea of himself not opening the batting with Sachin Tendulkar. Prior to Sehwag, it was Ganguly who formed India's most prolific opening combination with Sachin Tendulkar in ODI cricket.
Virender Sehwag said that the opening combination of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly had failed in the first two matches of the 2003 World Cup. When the team travelled to Zimbabwe for their third match, the then Indian head coach John Wright asked all 15 squad members to anonymously throw in a “chit”, stating their pick of opening batsmen going forward in the tournament. Two weeks before that incident, Wright and Tendulkar had a one-on-one discussion, out of which it was decided that Tendulkar would return to open the batting for India, rather than the No.4 position he was occupying since a year prior to the event.
As a result, it was only Ganguly or Sehwag who could have the opportunity to open with Tendulkar for reviving India's fading campaign in South Africa. Virender Sehwag then revealed that 14 out of the 15 players had picked the ‘Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag’ combo while only one anonymous chit was in favour of the ‘Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly’ combination. The Delhi-based batsmen then poked fun at Sourav Ganguly on the show by saying that everyone understood it was the captain himself, who was in favour of the latter. That made even the great Sachin Tendulkar laugh.
After much discussions, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag began opening the batting from the third match and remained first-choice Indian openers for years to come. After a crushing 9-wicket loss to Australia in the second match, India then registered eight wins on the trot and reached the final of the 2003 World Cup. However, India suffered a crushing 125-run defeat in the title clash on the back of Australian captain Ricky Ponting’s dominating 140*.