IPL 2021: Will Arjun Tendulkar get to play in Mumbai Indians XI? – Defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will begin their campaign on April 9 against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). While Rohit Sharma-led side already has a set Playing XI, the question is will Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun Tendulkar get to play any matches in IPL 2021. Junior Tendulkar, a bowling all-rounder, was picked up by MI for his base price of Rs 20 lakh from the IPL auction and their Director of Cricket Operations Zaheer Khan said he will need to prove his worth.
Former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan has seen Arjun Tendulkar up close when he was a child. While there was a lot of talks about nepotism regarding Arjun Tendulkar’s auction pick, Khan made it clear that he will need to prove his mettle to have a chance at playing in the IPL.
“We are looking at things under a very simple lens. He is just a youngster coming into the side. But he has to prove himself, has to show the coaching staff and the think tank of the team that he has got the goods to belong there. So what he does at the highest level in his hands,” said Zaheer Khan said when Arjun Tendulkar joined MI’s practice in late March.
— Zaheer Khan FC (@ZaheerFC) November 25, 2013
Will Arjun Tendulkar get to play in IPL 2021?
Mumbai Indians have some established fast bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Dhawal Kulkarni in the mix. Apart from them, Kieron Pollard and James Neesham are two all-rounders who bowls medium-fast. Like then, Arjun Tendulkar is also a seamer-all-rounder, making it difficult for him to get into the playing XI.
Furthermore, his competition will be with another youngster Marco Jansen from South Africa. He already has the experience of playing in a T20 league in the CSA T20 Challenge. Whereas Arjun is yet to prove his worth. He played for Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and wasn’t successful. In two matches, he returned for 1/33 and 1/34 against Pondicherry and Haryana, respectively, further making it difficult to build a case for him.
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) April 5, 2021
However, Arjun should not be disappointed by this. He has grown up being surrounded by world-class cricketers and the experienced fast-bowling department at MI will certainly help him build his career. Furthermore, Mumbai Indians are known to be a cricket factory, churning out India regulars such as Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan. Considering that, Arjun’s future is a bright one.
“I have spent lots of time with him in the nets, trying to teach him a few tricks of the trade. He is a hard-working kid and he is keen on learning. That’s the exciting part. The environment we have around the team is certainly going to help him become a better cricketer with the likes of Shane Bond and Mahela around. I wish him the best,” Zaheer said.
Mahela Jayawardene, MI’s head coach, said that the team management saw potential in him and thus decided to invest in him. “He has worked hard for a couple of years now, coming to the nets and bowling to the guys, he especially worked very hard in UAE with us. Not only Arjun, but we also picked Yudhvir as well who was one of our bowlers who came to the nets. Whenever we see guys are working hard, we try and invest in that. It’s great to have Arjun and it would exciting times for Sachin as well to see Arjun wearing the Mumbai T-shirt and be a part of the squad,” said Mahela.