CaptionThey successfully hold the highest opening partnership record with 6,362 runs in 129 matches, which includes 20 century partnerships and 22 fifty runs stand. Yes, you got it right. They are the legendary opening pair Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.When you achieve something like this, supporting each other constantly at the international stage, a lasting friendship is bound to grow. If interviews and social media are anything to go by, these two idols of Indian cricket have still remained the best of friends, ocassionally engaging is friendly banters and revealing funny anecdotes about their playing days.Very recently, their amusing Twitter exchange regarding the All-Star cricket league has gone viral. For millions, these men have been inspirational for their cricket. So, let's take a look at five times when their friendship was also equally heart-warming:
#1 When it was about the opening slot
Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar’s teams are all set to play the All-Star Cricket League in the Unites States of America (USA) to promote cricket there. The Sachin’s Blasters and Warne’s Warriors will play a series of three T20 matches in the USA starting from Saturday, 7th November.
Sourav Ganguly is part of the Maestro’s team and the world waits with bated breathe, hoping to see the magical duo open for their team again. The Prince of Calcutta fired a joking threat that he would take the first flight home to Kolkata, if not given the opener’s slot. Ganguly had said,"I have told Sachin, if I don't open, I will catch the next flight to Kolkata. So that is a criteria for playing.”
Sachin Tendulkar has taken a swipe in return – and joked back saying, “Application being processed”. He posted on Twitter: “Dada your application for the opener's position is being processed! Hope the off drive is coming from the sweet spot.”
The exchange shows the kind of energy that fuelled one of the greatest opening partnerships in the history of ODI cricket.
#2 When it was Tendulkar vs Ganguly in ISL
In the Indian Super League (ISL), Tendulkar and Ganguly were co-owners of rival teams. As fortune would have it, Kerala Blasters FC (Sachin’s team) and Atletico de Kolkata (Sourav’s team) were the two teams that were battling it out at the finals for the trophy in the first season of ISL.
Atletico won the match and the Trophy, leading to celebration. On the field both of these legends competed fiercely when pitted against each other, fought tooth and nail for India, yet off the field they are true sportsmen.
During half-time, both were seen joking around, as Dada placed his hand on his friend, both taking a vow to contribute to Indian Football. The comfort level between the two was for everyone to see. However, the greatest of gestures came when he dragged his friend, the Master Blaster with himself, asking to collect the trophy with him. A touch of class from the dashing left-hander showed how their friendship was built on mutual love and respect.
#3 At Tendulkar\'s 199th Test match
When the ‘God of Cricket’ decided to retire from international cricket, it was an emotional experience for the entire nation. Sachin Tendulkar played his 199th Test match against West Indies at the Eden Gardens, and shared some light moments with his former India captain Sourav Ganguly. It happened during a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) event to mark the maestro’s final appearance at the iconic ground.
The CAB organised release of tri-coloured balloons attached to pictures of Tendulkar from across the ground. While rest of the bunch of balloons took off, the one being released by Sachin Tendulkar and his onetime opening partner Ganguly failed to rise.
Both of them then gave a push to make the balloons go up. The batting greats were then seen sharing a hearty laugh after the balloons finally set sail.
The most endearing sight was when during the felicitation ceremony, both of them hugged each other, completely emotional. The entire country was witnessing a camaraderie that we will talk about for years.
#4 Who will take the strike?
In a post-match broadcast during the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Championship in Sri Lanka, Sourav Ganguly shared dressing room stories and how sometimes he and his co-opener, Tendulkar would squabble over who should take the first strike.
The ‘Maharaja’ and the ‘God’ have opened for about 260 matches together and according to Ganguly, he always had to take the first strike. Sometimes, when he felt that he was not in a good nick, he would ask his friend to take first strike but Tendulkar always refused, even though Ganguly was the captain.
Therefore, just to peeve off his friend, the Bengal Tiger would quietly go and stand at the non-striker’s end. As Ganguly says, Tendulkar is a great man and would not change his position if he saw that the bowler was taking his mark-up. This way, he could sometimes force his friend to face the first ball, revealing the chemistry that the two have shared for years.
#5 When Tendulkar wished Ganguly on his birthday
Post his retirement, the Master Blaster has completely taken to Twitter and Facebook. He posts quite regularly and has become quite a selfie-lover too!
He took to Twitter to wish his best friend happy birthday when Ganguly turned 43 this July. On the eve of his birthday, the legendary batsman sent his heartfelt wishes to the former India captain.
Tendulkar uploaded a picture of him and Sourav from back in the day where both of them look really young. It may well have been a photo of their teenage years, seeing that Tendulkar broke into the team when he was 16 and Ganguly debuted when he was 18.
He also typed in a message using the hastag #HappyBirthdayDADA and telling him to “stay young as always.” If that is not endearing, then we don’t know what is!