The prospect seemed inevitable. Yet, it was reserved to be the final act of a wild day that saw new record being created for the most expensive purchase in IPL auction history. Arjun Tendulkar, son the legendary Sachin, was the final cricketer to land an IPL contract on Thursday when Zaheer Khan, sitting at the Mumbai table, raised the paddle.
For the uninitiated, it may come at a surprise but the foundation for Arjun following into the footsteps of his famous father was being laid for the past few years. He is a regular at Mumbai Indians net sessions and even travelled to UAE when the IPL was shifted due to the coronavirus situation in India.
Spending time with some of the finest names in the world of cricket, the bowling allrounder has been honing his craft. He finally made his domestic debut at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Mumbai last month and, on Thursday, was picked by five-time IPL winners MI at his base price.
The 21-year-old has so far played two T20s, picked up two wickets. So what prompted MI to bring him on board?
“We’ve looked at it purely on a skill basis,” MI head coach Mahela Jayawardene was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “I mean, there is going to be a big tag on his head because of Sachin. But, luckily, he’s a bowler, not a batsman. We have to give him some time and hopefully not put lot of pressure on him, to work his way up. That’s what we are there to help him do. So I think Sachin will be very proud if he could bowl like Arjun.”
MI Director of Cricket Operations Zaheer said while Arjun will have bear the pressure of the name Tendulkar, it’s up to him to prove his worth and said the IPL environment will help him grow further.
“The added pressure of the name Tendulkar is always going to be there on him, something which he will have to live with. But we are very hopeful that the environment which we have around the team is going to help him. (In the end) he is just a youngster coming into the side. He has to prove himself, show all the coaching staff and the think-tank of the team that he has got the goods to belong there. So, what he does at the highest level is in his hands,” Zaheer said.