IPL 2021: Mumbai Indians backroom staff explain signing of Arjun Tendulkar

Arjun Tendulkar was one of the most discussed players before the IPL auction. When his name was drawn at the end of yesterday’s mini-auction, Mumbai Indians, as many expected, were the first and only bidders for the 21-year-old. As soon as MI bought junior Tendulkar for his base price of Rs 20 lakhs, discussion surrounding nepotism began on social media. However, MI’s head coach Mahela Jayawardene and the team’s Director of Cricket Operations Zaheer Khan insisted that the side picked Arjun due to his skill sets, and he will have to prove himself like everyone else.

Jaywardene explained the signing of Tendulkar. He said, “We’ve looked at it purely on a skill basis. 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. So, I think Sachin will be very proud if he could bowl like Arjun,” said Jayawardene. He further added that Arjun’s stint with Mumbai Indians will be a learning process for him. “He will learn the ropes; he will evolve. He’s still young. A very focused young man. We have to give him time and hopefully not put a lot of pressure on him either. Just let him evolve and work his way up, and that’s what we’re there to help him to do.”

Mumbai Indians director of cricket, Zaheer Khan also echoed Jaywardene’s thoughts on Arjun Tendulkar. The former Indian pace bowler said, “I have spent a lot of time in the nets, trying to teach him some tricks of the trade, he is a hardworking kid, he is keen on learning, it is an exciting part. The added pressure of being Sachin Tendulkar’s son will always be on him, it is something he needs to live with, the environment of the team will help him. It will help him become a good cricketer, how many times a youngster gets picked in the auction and everyone is talking about him, he has to prove himself and he has to show everyone he has the goods.”

Arjun Tendulkar made his senior debut for Mumbai during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last month, where he took two wickets at an economy of 9.57. He was part of Mumbai Indians squad during IPL 2020 as a net bowler and has bowled in the Indian national team’s nets as well. However, ever since he entered the world of cricket, Arjun has been constantly compared with his father and legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar. While his stint at MI will now be scrutinised heavily, it is up to the young bowler to prove himself.

Being part of the first team of IPL’s most successful team is a dream come true for Arjun, who is a ‘die-hard’ fan of the franchise. In a video posted by Mumbai Indians on their Twitter handle, Arjun said, “Since childhood, I have always been a die-hard fan of Mumbai Indians. I would like to thank coaches, owners, and support staff for showing faith in me. I am excited to join the MI paltan.”

Apart from Tendulkar, Mumbai Indians picked up Nathan Coulter-Nile for Rs 5 crores, Adam Milne for Rs 3.2 crores, Piyush Chawla for Rs 2.40 crores, James Neesham for Rs 50 lakhs, Yudhvir Charak for Rs 20 lakhs and Marco Jansen for Rs 20 lakhs during the auction in Chennai on Thursday.

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