The iconic Sachin Tendulkar's son Arjun Tendulkar's nascent cricketing career got a major fillip on Thursday when he was picked by Mumbai Indians at the IPL players' auction, the last name to go under the hammer in Chennai. After being bought by the Mumbai outfit, Arjun thanked the coaches, owners and the support staff for showing faith in him.
Mumbai Indians, franchise for which his father didn't just play but also took up mentorship of youngsters, bought Arjun for Rs 20 lakh, which was his base price. It was hardly a surprise given that he has been a net bowler for the franchise for the past two-three seasons.
MI wrote, "A ballboy at Wankhede before Stadium. Support bowler last season. The first-team player now Blue heart. It's showtime, Arjun!"
"I would like to thank the coaches, owners and the support staff for showing faith in me," said Arjun in a video shared by the franchise.
The 21-year-old recently made his senior Mumbai team debut when he played in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the national T20 championship, against Haryana.
Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene stressed that the franchise picked Arjun purely on skills.
"We have looked at it purely on a skills-basis, I mean, there is going to be a big tag on his head, because of Sachin, but luckily he is a bowler, not a batsman, so I think, Sachin will be very proud, if he could bowl like Arjun," Jayawardene said at a virtual press conference held after the auction.
"So, I think it is going to be learning process for Arjun, he just started playing for Mumbai and now with the franchise, so he will learn the ropes, he will evolve, he is still young but a very focussed young man, so you have to give him some time and hopefully not put lot of pressure on him either.
Mumbai Indians Director of Cricket Operations and former India speedster Zaheer Khan said that the junior Tendulkar was keen on learning and was a hard-working kid.
"As far as I am concerned, yes, I have spent a lot of time with him in the nets, working alongside him, trying to teach him few tricks of the trade and that has been going well.
"And look the added pressure of the name Sachin Tendulkar is always going to be there on him and something which he will have to live by, but we are very hopeful that environment, which we have around the team is definitely going to help them," said Zaheer.
Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani said that the budding pacer has a "beautiful" skill-set. “…Arjun has a beautiful skill-set, he is left-arm fast bowler and can bat left-arm, there are not many of those in world cricket, but it is very important that his process and progression happens as any other young cricketer’s progressions happen.
So far, the left-handed batsman and left-arm pacer has played two matches for Mumbai in the T20 format, in which he has scored three runs and taken two wickets. He came up through the ranks after playing age-group cricket tournaments and has also featured in the T20 Mumbai League.
(With PTI Inputs)