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Arjun Tendulkar and his fight with his surname

Arjun has had the opportunities and exposure an 18-year-old cricketer dreams of.

Arjun Tendulkar
Arjun Tendulkar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Can you imagine a cricketer who has not yet played an international match, forget an international match, has not even played a first-class match yet, but still can compete with some of the international cricketers in terms of popularity and fandom? Well no prizes for guessing, we are talking about Arjun Tendulkar.

Arjun has had the opportunities that a teenage cricketer coming through the ranks dreams of. He has been a net bowler during the practice session of England cricket team ahead of a Lord’s Test match, he has bowled in the nets of the Indian Women’s Cricket team as well on the eve of the World Cup final earlier this year, the venue was again Lord’s and then recently when the Indian men’s team was in Mumbai to play a One-Day International match against New Zealand, Arjun was one of the net bowlers again bowling to the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli.

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A teenage cricketer bowling to international stars in the nets is not surprising, but the kind of attention Arjun receives every time he features in the net session of an international team is amazing. It’s almost as if people are talking more about him than the players he is bowling at.

JY Lele tournament

Such is Arjun’s popularity already that he has been able to provide recognition to some of the junior level domestic tournaments. For example- before he was picked in the Mumbai U19 team for the JY Lele All India U19 invitational One-day tournament, very few cricket fans in India knew about that tournament, but now a lot of them do just because Jr Tendulkar featured in it.

To be fair, it’s not the case with Arjun alone. Any star kid around the world, if he/she decides to take up the same profession that their parents did, receives the same kind of attention. Just to testify how painful it can be at times, I would like to sneak in one of the quotes of Anna McEnroe, the daughter of the tennis maestro John McEnroe.

“I am Anna McEnroe, and to the eyes of a spectator, I was moulded from the clay of Roland-Garros and run on the grass at Wimbledon. I am a McEnroe, a McEnroe who plays Tennis well; a McEnroe who plays well, but not well enough,” she said.

While not many of us would relate too much to what Anna said, ask a young Ambani who has joined the business empire already created and bolstered by his grandfather and father, ask a Gandhi who is now the Vice President of a political party his father was once a part of and ask a Bachchan who is acting in Hindi movies and they would tell you what Anna exactly meant there.

Coming back to Arjun, his returns in the JY Lele tournament was a total of 14 runs with the bat and a solitary scalp with the ball in the first two matches before he was left out of the XI for the third match. These figures may not be the proper reflection of his actual abilities, he has all the ingredients to be a good fast bowler, he is tall, has a nice physique, runs in well and has got a decent pace as well for an 18-year old, but the real challenge for him going ahead will be to fight with the pressure that his huge surname adds on his shoulders.

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