Arjun Tendulkar

Arjun Tendulkar is part of Young Parsee Cricket Club in the Kanga League (Photo courtesy: Salman Ansari/DNA)

By Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya

Mumbai: Sep 9, 2013

Photographers at a Kanga League ‘G’ Division game? Even the cricketing gods would laugh out loud. So what drew them to the Muslim United Cricket Club at Azad Maidan on a pleasant Sunday morning?

Well, a 13-year-old did.

Arjun Tendulkar, whose angelic eyes are reminiscent of his great father, made his maiden appearance in the inter-club tournament, the refurbished version of which also made its ‘debut’ on Sunday. Representing the Young Parsee Cricket Club, the left-handed batsman scored one run off 11 deliveries before being stumped off the bowling of Sanjay Solanki, an off-spinner.

However, Arjun’s early departure didn’t affect his team’s fortunes. Young Parsee, who posted 202 for nine declared, restricted United Cricket Club to 156 for six. The teams pocketed a point each.

Back to the atmosphere and the Young Parsee dugout resembled that of the Kolkata Knight Riders! Remember how Shah Rukh Khan used to turn heads during every other Indian Premier League match?

“Arjun! Look here, Arjun!” the photographers cried. The buzz around the ground was that Sachin Tendulkar had already requested the coaches and officials associated with the tournament to keep his son away from the media glare.

There were murmurs that the maestro did not want the other kids to “suffer” due to Arjun’s presence.

But every kid isn’t as fortunate as Arjun. This newspaper can confirm that Arjun, who also bowls left-arm medium pace, trained with none other than Zaheer Khan at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Bandra-Kurla Complex facility in the lead-up to the tournament. He also had Ajit Agarkar and Yuvraj Singh for company.

Zaheer’s tips seemed to have helped Arjun. He returned figures of 7-2-35-1. Onlookers said Arjun got the ball to move away from left-hander Omkar Mane.

He also managed to induce an edge which was pouched by the fielder at second slip.

Rajesh Sanil, Arjun’s coach, was all praise for his ward. “Arjun is playing in an open age group. He is among the men now. This will make him more confident. He is a good package and is getting better by the day.”

The youngster, perhaps, knows he attracts reporters and photographers because his surname is Tendulkar. Truth is he has a long way to go.

(Before joining DNA sports, Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya worked with The Hindu Business Line as a freelancer, and in front and behind the camera for Broadcast Telecast Worldwide (Kolkata). Apart from penning and editing stories, he is also a photographer and a musician. The above article has been republished with permission from DNA, where it first appeared)