Arjun Tendulkar was the last player to be sold in the IPL 2021 Auction on Thursday. Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, got hold of the 21-year-old for his base price of INR 20 Lakhs.
The left-arm seam bowling all-rounder has trained with the Mumbai Indians for the past few years; he has also been seen as a net bowler for Team India. Arjun Tendulkar was with the Mumbai Indians squad in the UAE last season.
Since, he made his senior debut for Mumbai in the recent domestic tournament, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy – picking two wickets at an economy of 9.57 in 2 matches – he was put in the auction pool – and there was little doubt that any other team than the Mumbai Indians will buy the junior Tendulkar.
After his signing, Arjun thanked the MI coaches and support staff for ‘showing faith’ in him. Arjun, who was often seen as a ball boy for Mumbai Indians when his father and legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar use to open for the franchise, and then later was a net bowler, says that he has been a fan of the team since as a child, and is excited to put on the jersey soon.
“Since childhood, I have been a die-hard fan of Mumbai Indians. I would like to thank the coaches, owners and the support staff for showing faith in me. I can’t wait to put on the blue and gold (jersey),” Arjun Tendulkar said in a video message.
We picked Arjun Tendulkar ‘purely on a skill basis’ – Mahela Jayawardene
Unsurprisingly, there were talks of nepotism on social media when Arjun was picked by the 5-time champions as being associated with Sachin Tendulkar. However, head coach, Mahela Jayawardene made it clear that the left-arm pacer has impressed them with his cricket skills, and the 21-year-old will only learn and get better going forward.
“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. We have to give him time and hopefully not put a lot of pressure on him either. Just let him evolve and work his way up, and that’s what we’re there to help him to do,” Jayawardene said after the auction.
"I would like to thank the coaches, owners and the support staff for showing faith in me." 🙌💙
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) February 18, 2021