For a country that treats its cricketers like gods, seeking divinity in both their feet and in their feats, how could it have allowed Sachin Tendulkar to retire? So, even as the great batsman ‘got away’, using his celestial powers in a lighter vein, there was a lot of attention when it became apparent that his son, Arjun Tendulkar was eyeing a spot in the game.
The idea of enjoying another Tendulkar around the cricketing circle was too good a prospect to enjoy, you’d think about the average Indian cricket fan, whose passion for the sport cannot be doubted.
Can a cricket-hungry India leave Arjun Tendulkar alone?
Perhaps, for a cricket-frenzy nation, it was a marvellous way to pay homage to the ‘Sachin-factor.’
Now that as the decision about Arjun Tendulkar’s imminent cricketing future is clear- the left-arm seamer being picked for the Under-19 side’s forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka- there’s an obvious inclination toward the new Tendulkar on the block.
The Under-19 side’s tour to Sri Lanka should, therefore, not only be a promising opportunity for the rising pacer to make it count but should also up the ante of competition among the forthcoming talents. After all, there’s little doubt about what contemporary India’s Under-19 talents have brought to the game.
Arjun Tendulkar’s past appearances highlight consistency
In the immediate aftermath of their 2018’s Under-19 World Cup success, captain Prithvi Shaw- a product of Rahul Dravid brand of mentorship- found a place in Delhi Daredevils in the IPL while the likes of Shubhman Gill made way to Kolkata Knight Riders. Their future may have got the mega-bucks talking already, it’s certain they’ll reach the national side at some point in time should their form continue in rich vein.
Arjun Tendulkar, however, young that he may be, is no different from other talented names rising in the circle. Having already represented the Under-14, Under-16 and, now Under-19 sides, Arjun Tendulkar, who debuted back in the Harris Shield during 2011, has impressed during the Cooch Bihar trophy of 2017-18. There, he picked 19 wickets that included 2 five-fors. Having also played for MCC during a game against Namibia Under-19, Arjun Tendulkar’s 4-for helped India bowl out the African side for 48.
Even his worst doubters, perceptibly, a public that’s intent to reduce talents to social media memes bringing cynicism needlessly to the sport, would have to strive hard to ignore Arjun’s sheer consistency since last several months.
The weight of expectations
But his journey, naturally, stemming from a background that has more cricket, achievements in the genes than there’s water in the Atlantic might not be the smoothest one.
While in most cricketing cultures, making the cut to the national team is often likened to entering a bull-ring where one attempts to take the bull by its horns, the situation in India is unarguably different.
One could reckon, it requires an individual tackling the bull to concede with the exhaustible sight of onlookers throwing in spades of harsh judgement, rendering verdicts when they aren’t even due. The legendary Gavaskar’s son-Rohan- never had an easy time and nor did such cricketing siblings in other parts of the world. Even as Grant was the more elegant stroke-maker, there was a natural lagging in making heads turn like his elder brother, Andy who really flowered in the sport. Life’s not being any kind to Krunal Pandya either, whose all-round performances warrant at least a serious introspection about a possible India future.
The road ahead for Arjun Tendulkar
In the light of the above, can Arjun Tendulkar be allowed to move scot-free, untouched by comparisons to the big daddy of Indian cricket, in his case, daddy Sachin Tendulkar? What one hopes, should happen, is for the naturally talented left-arm seamer, who’s no pushover in scoring runs from the lower-order to borrow a leaf from his father’s book; that of taking each game at a time, living in it to make it count, as if his life depended on it.