Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar was a proud man as his son Arjun, 13, made it to the Mumbai under-14 squad on Thursday. He was picked in the 15-member squad for the West Zone leg of the BCCI tournament to be held in Ahmedabad from January 20 to February 1, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) announced on Thursday.
In a text message to DNA, an elated Sachin wrote: “Like any other parent, I feel extremely happy and proud that he is part of the Mumbai u-14 team. His hard work has paid off. I hope that people leave him alone to enjoy this beautiful game as a normal member of the team.”
Arjun, who bats left-handed and bowls left-arm medium pace, earned his maiden selection in the state team on the basis of his consistent performances in the inter-school and selection trials tournament throughout the season. Last week, he scored a stroke-filled 70 and shared a 132-run opening partnership with Akash Savla for Shastri XI against Tendulkar XI in the Dilip Vengsarkar Foundation Cup under-14 tournament in Mahul. His team, however, ended up on the losing side.l
DNA was the first to report about Arjun’s maiden century in the MCA’s selection tournament at the under-14 level for Khar Gymkhana Centre in May 2012. His knock of 124 against Goregaon Centre was studded with 14 boundaries and a six and helped his team win the match by an innings and 21 runs. It helped Arjun make it to the Mumbai under-14 probables list for an off-season training camp.
“It was a unanimous decision to select him. He is a talented youngster. He didn’t require to use his father’s name as he justified his selection with his performances throughout the season,” said a member of the selection committee on condition of anonymity.
“If you look at his batting, you will be pleased. He has played and scored really well against the best of attacks in that age group. He is not afraid of playing his natural game and is quite an aggressive strokeplayer which we require. The youngster is very disciplined and enthusiastic about the game just like his father,” he added.
The selector was all praise for his batting. “Arjun is the one to watch out for. You cannot compare him with his father. He is a different batsman. In three years, you will find him a very different player and a good player if he plays with the same dedication,” he said.
As a bowler, Arjun once took eight for 22 for Dhirubhai Ambani International School. This effort in November 2011 ensured his school beat Jamnabai Narsee School.
Apart from Arjun, the other interesting selection in the Mumbai under-14 team is of Agni, producer-director Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s son. “Agni is a talented left-handed middle-order batsman,” the selector told DNA.
Mumbai U-14 Squad: Akash Savla, Darshan Padare, Vaishnav Narvekar, Tanush Kotian, Arjun Tendulkar, Azim Shaikh, Omkar Rahate, Abhishek Shetty, Agni Chopra, Druv Vedak, Hashir Dafedar, Manas Raikar, Jay Dave, Jahangir Ansari, Yash Joshi.