Once Sourav Ganguly took over the captaincy of the Indian cricket team, his main aim was to win Test matches overseas. He was keen to have a strong and solid opening combination, which was vital for success. Virender Sehwag was promoted to open against his will initially but he was backed by the team management and he went on to become one of the most feared opening batsmen of all time. Once Gautam Gambhir started partnering Sehwag, Indians looked as if they had found a duo they were searching for.
There were quite a few openers who were considered future prospects but failed to live up to expectations. None of those could cure the persistent headache of the captain or selectors. It was commendable that India managed to perform well in Tests without a settled opening combination. It was difficult to fathom how these players despite their talent could not cement their places.
These are several batsmen who opened the batting for India after Ganguly took over the captaincy. Few partnered Sehwag too. Even Rahul Dravid opened the innings few times but he is widely regarded as one of the best one-down batsman India ever had.
#1 Shiv Sundar Das
The batsman from Orissa was talked about highly and was certain to be a player to watch out for. He had a compact defence, showed good judgement and looked solid. He was thought of as a potential opener who could counter quick bowlers against whom India had a history of struggling.
However, Das could not back his reputation with enough runs and was slowly shunted out. He played 23 Tests in total and scored two centuries and nine half centuries. He also played for various states in domestic cricket.
#2 Sadaagoppan Ramesh
The southpaw from Tamil Nadu averaged a healthy 50 in his first few Tests. He was fairly aggressive, had flair and could play the most difficult of bowlers with considerable ease. His debut series against Pakistan in 1999 and the Asian Test Championship Series revealed his skills and temperament.
There was an evident and now widely-known drawback though - lack of footwork. He also could not manage big scores - a trait which an opener ought to have and was overlooked eventually.