The pressures of playing with the Tendulkar surname

Carrying the burden of expectations of the unmatched feats of his father, Arjun competes undeterred on the Mumbai cricket circuit.

 |  3-minute read |   25-11-2015
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After tapping the bat on good length area of the pitch as he prepares for his batting stance, his surname stares back at him from where the sight screen would be. The batsman in question is Arjun Tendulkar and he is competing at the Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana. Some would call it merely symbolic but brings pressures that only a son of a famous father would know.  

Carrying the burden of expectations of the unmatched feats of his father, Arjun Tendulkar competes undeterred on the Mumbai cricket circuit. He battles common allegations of institutional bias in selection, he braves sledges of fellow players over his famous surname but has stuck to the whites. He has resisted the temptation of taking the beaten path of going abroad for foreign education.

Having served as a ball boy in his father’s farewell test, Arjun would have experienced first hand the emotions of a career spanning 200 test matches. But pursing cricket as a hobby and attempting to make a professional career out of it are like chalk and cheese. With fellow boy wonders scoring double hundreds with regularity, Arjun would be dealing with those pressures as well. And although unfair he would also be coming across those who remind him of the distance his father had already covered when he was his age.

In his three years playing tournaments on the maidans of Mumbai cricket, his coaches tell us Arjun’s skills with the ball, bowling left arm medium have developed more. But Arjun also continues to bat up the order with the bat.

The ongoing match is one encounter where Arjun has clearly been the man of the match. Batting first for Sunil Gavaskar X1, Arjun scored a well crafted 106 coming in to bat at no.3. The tournament is a u-16 MCA selection trial, Payyade trophy where interestingly one of the participating teams is named Sachin Tendulkar X1. What makes this hundred special is that he scored 106 out of the 218 runs made by his team. He also followed it up with his primary trait of left arm pace with a four wicket haul in 16 overs.

Batting again in the second innings Arjun delivered a quick fire 40 of 35 balls including an effortless loft over long on, Yuvraj Singh style. Trying to repeat the dose to a left armer, a few overs later, he held out. Slapping the air in frustration, Arjun would go back to the pavilion, disappointed.  

While Tendulkar Jr delivering performances at a young age can be naturally exciting for the cricket world, runs and wickets at this age come with caveats. The boundary ropes are half in distance and opposition not always top class. For someone who hasn’t been a regular fixture in Mumbai age group squads, one cannot say how far he could possibly go from here.

But Arjun is no ordinary 15-year-old. He has been pictured learning to take the left armers’ twin fingered grip from Wasim Akram and Zaheer Khan. He has taken batting lessons from one day legend Yuvraj Singh in public space and on countless other occasions in private from a batting great who has more runs than anyone else in cricket history.

Every time Arjun picks wickets and scores runs, the news will resonate and swell expectations. 

Writer

Rasesh Mandani Rasesh Mandani @rkmrasesh

Broadcast journalist. A sports buff. Honest human being.

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