When Arjun Tendulkar’s name popped up in the recently concluded players’ auction of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, the cameras quickly focused on Mumbai Indians (MI) table, and with no surprises, the Mumbai-based franchise bought Arjun at his base price of INR 20 lakh.
Arjun is a fast-bowling all-rounder and was part of the Mumbai team in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Tournament 2020-21. Many expected a bidding war among top franchises to grab his services, but that did not happen as his name came later in the day when all the teams had already filled their desired spots.
Arjun’s selection in the Rohit Sharma-led side attracted a lot of chatter on social media. Some fans expressed their happiness while some raised eyebrows and reckoned Arjun got a place in the MI squad due to his surname.
However, MI head coach Mahela Jayawardene has brushed aside such claims and said they picked Arjun only on the grounds of skills. Jayawardene hoped that junior Tendulkar will learn and evolve as he is still quite young.
“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. I think it’s going to be a learning process for Arjun. He just started playing for Mumbai, and now the franchise. He will learn the ropes; he will evolve. He’s still young. A very focused young man,” said Jayawardene as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
‘I have always been a die-hard fan of Mumbai Indians’: Arjun
After the auction, Arjun reacted over his selection in the MI team. In a video shared by the official Twitter handle of MI, Arjun was spotted saying that he is a die-hard fan of the Mumbai franchise. He even thanked the MI coaches, owners and support staff for showing faith in him.
“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,” said Arjun.
"I would like to thank the coaches, owners and the support staff for showing faith in me." 🙌💙
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) February 18, 2021