Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun has been included in the India U-19 team for two four-day games against Sri Lanka. The 18-year-old Tendulkar is a left-arm fast bowler and a handy lower-order batsman.
Tendulkar has been picked primarily on the basis of his performance in the Cooch Behar tournament last year, in which he picked up 18 wickets in five matches. While it wasn’t an extraordinary performance by any stretch of imagination, it wasn’t bad, either.
His selection, however, is going to raise a few eyebrows, for he’s 43rd in the list of the top wicket-takers for the season. How did he impress the selection committee — comprising Ashish Kapoor, Gyanendra Pandey and Rakesh Parikh — enough to pick him up?
“If you look at the list, Arjun is the only genuine quick bowler who has more than 15 wickets. Most of the bowlers above him are spinners, with Ajay Dev Goud (33 wickets) being a genuine all-rounder. Goud is a slow-medium bowler while Arjun is a quick bowler,” said a source close to the selection committee.
Besides, said the source, there is a clear direction from BCCI and U-19 coach Rahul Dravid that those bowlers who would turn 19 by the end of this year should not be picked. “He wants them to play the Ranji Trophy instead,” said the source. “So, quite a few boys who had bagged more wickets than Tendulkar (in the Cooch Behar Trophy) could not make the cut due to this reason.” Asked if the youngster will be under pressure because of his famous surname and the attention his performance or the lack of it will attract, a senior BCCI official said: “He is eyeing to become a professional cricketer. He is another member of this Indian squad and he will have to perform. The selectors have given him a chance looking at his potential.”
Tendulkar has bowled at the India nets a few times and was part of the fast bowlers’ camp in Dharamsala last month. (PTI)