Virender Sehwag's axing from the Indian Test team from the ongoing Australia Test series signals the end of an era. He and his opening partner, Gautam Gambhir, who was dropped after the England Tests, were once rated among the leading opening pairs in world cricket, but a poor run with the bat in the last year or so saw them lose their places in the Test team.
They were a regular feature in the Indian team since opening together in 2004, save a few matches when injury or rare loss in form prevented the two Delhi batsmen from opening together.
This happened on 13 occasions since Gambhir’s debut in November 2004.
The most recent instance was the Nottingham Test against England in 2011, when both were injured, forcing Rahul Dravid top open with Abhinav Mukund, and in the entire three-Test series in the West Indies before.
Overall, Sehwag and Gambhir opened in 50 Tests, for an impressive record of 4412 runs, at an average of 52.52, which goes up to 59 in home Tests, while it dips to 42 away from home.
Notably, their performance was way below par since 2011, which forced the team management to look elsewhere and find new openers.
Interestingly, Sehwag's own batting form also suffered in the last few years. Till 2010, he amassed runs at an average of 54.10 in 86 Tests, but since then managed just 916 runs in 18 Tests, at a lowly average of 28.62, which has eventually cost him a place in the Test side.
Rajneesh Gupta presents a detailed statistical look at Sehwag and Gambhir's record:
Sehwag-Gambhir's record as opening pair:
Sehwag-Gambhir's record as opening pair since 2011:
Sehwag's record with all opening partners:
Gambhir's record with all opening partners:
Sehwag's record overall, till 2010 and since then: