‘We have looked at it purely on a skills-basis’ – Mahela Jayawardene on buying Arjun Tendulkar
Arjun Tendulkar was the last player to be sold in IPL 2021 auction.
Updated - Feb 19, 2021 12:57 pm
Mumbai Indians team-management has defended their decision to sign Arjun Tendulkar, the son of legendary Sachin Tendulkar, in the recently concluded IPL 2021 auction. Ever since he registered himself for the auction, Arjun was one of the biggest talking points in the cricketing circles. Incidentally, he was the last player picked in the auction on Thursday, and on the very expected note, Mumbai Indians bought him at his base price.
Arjun getting his maiden IPL contract, however, triggered a big debate on social media as several appeared to be critical of his selection. Some even called him a product of nepotism as they questioned his credentials. But amidst all these, Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene has insisted that the decision to sign Arjun was purely based on skill.
“We have looked at it purely on a skills-basis. There is going to be a big tag on his head because of Sachin, but luckily he is a bowler, not a batsman, so I think Sachin will be very proud if he could bowl like Arjun,” Jayawardene said at a virtual interaction after the auction.
“It is going to be a learning process for Arjun. He has just started playing for Mumbai and now with the franchise, so he will learn the ropes. He will evolve, he is still young but a very focused young man, so you have to give him some time and hopefully not put lot of pressure on him either. Just let him evolve and work his way up. That is what we are there to help him do,” he added.
Arjun is a hard-working kid and really keen on learning: Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan, the Mumbai Indians’ director of cricket, also defended the franchise’s decision to sign Arjun Tendulkar. The legendary fast-bowler revealed he has spent a good amount of time in the nets with the youngster and helped him enhance his skills. Zaheer also pointed out that Arjun is a hard-worker and a keen learner.
“I have spent a lot of time with him in the nets, working alongside him, trying to teach him a few tricks of the trade and that has been going well. Like Mahela was mentioning, he is a hard-working kid and really keen on learning, so that is an exciting part,” he said.
Zaheer further stated that Arjun is no stranger to carrying the tag of being Tendulkar’s son. The former India pace spearhead concluded by saying that despite his surname, Arjun will not get any undue advantages.
“The added pressure is always going to be there and is something he will have to live with… The likes of Shane Bond (bowling coach), Mahela, the whole system which we have around the team is definitely going to help him become a better cricketer. We are looking at things under a very simple lens. He is just a youngster coming in the side. He has to prove himself, he has to show all the coaching staff and the think-tank of the team that he is got the goods to belong there, so what he does there at the highest level, is in his hands,” said Zaheer.
Still trying to find his feet in the game, Arjun is a left-arm fast bowler and a handy batsman. In the past, he had bowled to India and England stars in the nets. In 2018, he made headlines for bowling a toe-crusher to England superstar Jonny Bairstow. Last year, he had travelled to the UAE with the Mumbai Indians camp for IPL 2020.