With the IPL 2022 campaign nearly over for Mumbai Indians, they have a lot of things to mull over. It has largely been a disaster, so there is a lot of deep thinking still to do for the players, coaches and management alike. But even as the franchise comes to terms with not being up there with the rest in the elimination rounds, especially since all their games were played at home, their fans’ ire is not restricted to that. Many are now questioning why Arjun Tendulkar has still not got a game. That is definitely a fair question to ask.

Arjun Tendulkar is in a difficult position, simply because of his name. To be named after a father who is practically God to many Indian fans cannot be an easy place for him to be, since invariably, comparisons will come up.

However, Tendulkar jr. is a way different player than his father, in terms of the style of cricket, as well his own appearance. A strapping 6-foot-plus left-arm seamer and left-hand bat, Arjun can be expected to be the archetypal player from the younger lot, who will find ways to play the game away from Sachin Tendulkar’s shadow.

However, in his 2nd IPL now, young Arjun has still to play a game. And the fans aren’t amused. Prior to the match with SunRisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, many fans were in anticipation as skipper Rohit Sharma had promised some changes for the match. There were indeed changes, but Arjun wasn’t part of those.

The MI supporters were immediately up in arms. “Why is Arjun Tendulkar being ignored” seemed to be the tenor of most of the messages on social media. One fan called it “a shame“, while another called the franchise “stubborn” for not playing Arjun.

Granted, it won’t be easy for Mumbai Indians to play Arjun without some cynics calling it nepotism, but he has been selected, and he needs to be able to prove himself as a player and as an individual who steps out of the shadow of an illustrious father.

Plus, given that MI encourages all players to get a run, he is simply a part of the squad, and deserves the same treatment. Mumbai Indians have one match to go, and very little to prove. It won’t be unfair to anyone if the youngster is finally given his debut cap and get to display his wares to thousands of fans of cricket in India.

One thing is sure when Arjun Tendulkar plays, the stands will be full and the TV viewership will go through the roof. That in itself should be incentive enough.

(This article was first published on india.com)