NEW DELHI: The name Tendulkar is back in the Indian cricketing circuit. Almost five years after Sachin Tendulkar played his final match for India, his son, Arjun, has been named in India’s Under-19 squad that will tour Sri Lanka in July for two four-day games. Arjun however, has not been named in the one-day squad.
Here are some interesting facts you may want to know about the youngster.
A fast bowler who can clock over 135 km/h
Unlike his legendary father, who was widely regarded as the best batsman of all time, 18-year-old Arjun is a left-arm medium pacer and left-hand batsman. He was part of a group of 25 U-19 cricketers who were in Dharamsala in April this year for a month-long camp.
According to his coach, Arjun can consistently touch 135 (kmph).
Rewarded for consistency
Last year, Arjun had been picked in Mumbai’s Under-19 one-day side for the JY Lele invitational tournament in September. He had also represented Mumbai in the Under-14, Under-16 and Under-19 teams. During the 2017-18 Cooch Behar Trophy, Arjun picked up 19 wickets in five matches, including two five-wicket hauls, for Mumbai Under-19. Last July, Arjun was part of an MCC squad that played two matches against Namibia Under-19 in England. He picked up four wickets to bowl Namibia out for 49.
Arjun has been closely associated with Atul Gaikwad. Pune-based Gaikwad is a level-3 coach from the National Cricket Academy (NCA) with a PhD in biomechanics, who has worked at Brisbane’s Centre of Excellence. He was roped in by Sachin himself to coach Arjun three years ago. Arjun’s action has had to be remodelled after he suffered from two stress fractures that ruled him out of cricket for close to a year in 2016-17.
“It hasn’t been an easy journey for Arjun. I’ve seen that boy very closely. From suffering back-to-back stress fractures three years ago to struggling with a spate of injuries, he has worked very hard to get here,” Gaikwad said.
Besides Gaikwad, Arjun also works with former India fast bowler Subroto Banjeree, who was the bowling coach during Vidarbha’s triumphant 2017-18 Ranji Trophy campaign.
He’s impressed the best
Arjun has been part of a number of Indian and International clubs, and during his visit to England few years back, he was able to impress none other than the greatest left-arm fast bowler of all time, Wasim Akram. The former Pakistan captain spent some time with Arjun and observed that he was an enthusiastic learner.
“He is a 15-year-old who is like any other kid in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka – he’s very enthusiastic about his cricket,” Akram had said. “I told him a little bit about fitness, on wrist positioning and I explained to him how to bring the ball back onto the right-hander.”
This may surprise many but Sachin in not Arjun’s idol in cricket. The six-foot plus Arjun counts Australian left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc and England allrounder Ben Stokes among his role models.
Regularly bowls to International cricketers
Arjun is almost a regular when it comes to bowling to Indian cricketers in the nets when they play in Mumbai. Recently, a video surfaced where he was seen bowling to Indian captain Virat Kohli at the Wankhede nets. Besides, he also trains at the indoor academy at Lord’s. Last year, he bowled a Yorker to England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, which gave him an injury scare. He has also bowled to the Indian women’s team ahead of their World Cup final against England last year. He even dismissed the great Brian Lara during an exhibition match in 2015.
Harris Shield debut
Arjun made his debut in the Harris Shield Tournament in 2011, the same tournament where his father Sachin was involved in an epic 664-run partnership with Vinod Kambli. However, Arjun flopped with the bat, getting out for a duck. But that did not stop him from making amends with the ball. In the same match, Arjun claimed eight wickets to guide Dhirubhai Ambani International School to victory against the Jamnabai Narsee School.
A bowler who can bat, and bat pretty well at that
Although many believe Arjun is an allrounder, Arjun’s primary role is that of a fast bowler. But he is no mug with the bat either. Earlier this year, Arjun made headlines with a sparkling debut in the Spirit of Cricket Global Challenge in Australia. Playing for Cricketer’s Club of India against Hong Kong Cricket Club in a T20 match at the Bradman Oval, Arjun produced an eye-catching all-round performance as he clubbed 48 runs off 27 deliveries as an opener and also picked up four wickets in four overs.
When a Tendulkar is mentioned, the term ‘century’ becomes almost a synonym. It was in May 2012 that Arjun, then 13, scored his maiden century in the MCA’s Under-14 Summer Vacation tournament. The left-hander hammered 124 runs, with 14 fours and a six to help Khar Gymkhana side beat the Goregaon Centre comprehensively by an innings and 21 runs in the semi-finals. And the knock came just two months after his father Sachin had scored his 100th century for India.