How good a cricketer is Arjun Tendulkar?

Anuj Rawat (Delhi) and Atharva Taide (Vidarbha) talk about their U-19 team-mate, the junior Tendulkar, as he makes his T20 Mumbai League debut on Tuesday.

Aakash Tigers MWS bought Arjun Tendulkar for Rs 5 lakh — five times his base price — for the second edition of the T20 Mumbai League.   -  Vivek Bendre

Arjun Tendulkar has been a media darling right from the day he was born. And now that the 19-year-old is taking baby steps into professional T20 cricket, albeit in a hyperlocal tournament, he is likely to initiate discussions as the world has not really seen the junior Tendulkar in a live game on television.

Aakash Tigers MWS bought all-rounder Arjun for Rs 5 lakh — five times his base price — for the second edition of the T20 Mumbai League that starts on Tuesday.

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While the left-arm pacer fights the butterflies in the belly, we spoke to his India U-19 captain Anuj Rawat and team-mate Atharva Taide to decode his cricketing prowess. 

Arjun had made his India U-19 debut under Rawat in the Youth Tests in Sri Lanka in 2018.

“He can clock up to 140 kmph and above. He is very quick; very useful on green wickets,” Rawat, who plays Ranji Trophy for Delhi, told Sportstar on Monday.

Being a wicketkeeper, Rawat studied Arjun’s armoury of deliveries closely. “He can bowl the knuckle ball, he can use it wisely. He can also swing the ball both ways and keep the batsman under pressure,” he added.

Tips from the best in the business: Arjun Tendulkar interacts with Sri Lanka and Mumbai Indians pacer Lasith Malinga during a practice session.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

Though an all-rounder, it is Arjun’s bowling that brought him in the spotlight. He would often turn up as a net bowler in international matches. 

In 2017, bowling at the England cricket team at Lord’s, Arjun had spoiled Jonny Bairstow’s net session with a toe-crushing yorker. 

“He has lots of ideas when it comes to bowling because he has spent a lot of time with senior coaches and cricketers. So he has developed those ideas [where to keep the bowl, which areas to bowl]. Now he has the pace and fitness, he has played India U-19 and the T20 Mumbai League is the best thing for him at the moment. Everybody is favouring him and he is doing the right things at the right time,” said Taide, who was part of the victorious Vidarbha side in Ranji Trophy 2018-19.

Arjun, the batsman

Both Rawat and Taide feel Arjun – the southpaw – is a fence-clearer. “He has the ability to hit big sixes. He is a good batsman. He can bat in any order because he has the technique,” said Rawat.

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“He can hit long sixes. He is a big-hitter of the ball. It is a challenge to be up against Arjun (both with the bat and ball) as he gives his 100 per cent at the nets,” added Taide.

No starry vibe

Arjun never carries Sachin with him. He is a humble boy. “He never had a starry vibe. He was a normal boy and it was a nice experience playing with him. He is the most humble person around. He will never show that he is the son of the great Tendulkar,” they said.

Tigers, led by pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, will meet Triumph Knights Mumbai North East in its first game.

(The T20 Mumbai League will be live on Star Sports and Hotstar)