This is just the beginning, says Arjun Tendulkar's bowling coach

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Arjun Tendulkar has broken into the Indian U-19 team aged 18 years and 8 months.
Standing at 6ft 1inch, the 18-year-old Arjun is a left-arm fast bowler and a handy lower middle-order batsman (PTI Photo)

Arjun Tendulkar has broken into the Indian U-19 team aged 18 years and 8 months. His father and one of the game's most famous names, Sachin Tendulkar, at the same age was two years old in international cricket and had finished scoring the first of his 51 Test tons.

Comparisons with a genius, fundamentally unfair but an inevitable reality, the father-son duo would have resigned to long back when Tendulkar Jr decided to take up cricket. When Arjun struck his first club hundred at a MCA ground in suburban Mumbai, from one end of his batting crease he was staring at Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana inscribed at the other end.

Arjun hasn't made it to the Indian U-19 team for his batting though. After limited success with the bat in his teens, Arjun blossomed into a tall strapping left-arm seam bowler. That's when his famous father got friend and former India fast bowler Subroto Banerjee to work with the youngster.

"I am very very happy for him. When he began succeeding as a fast bowler, Sachin asked me to have a look at him and I worked with me for two and half years. He was giving everything he had. I am not surprised with his selection. He gets a very good shape and the ball travels. This is just the beginning," Banerjee tells India Today.

Arjun will be part of a 15-member squad for the two four-day games against Sri Lanka next month. His best performance till date was in the Cooch Behar Trophy, long form domestic U-19 tournament when he got two five-wicket hauls and a four-for playing for Mumbai, last year. He didn't have much success in the one-day domestic tourney.

Tendulkar Jr has been part of Mumbai age group teams over the years, U-14, U-16 and U-19 but hasn't had runaway success to ever be in reckoning for Indian U-19 World Cup teams.

Apart from his Cooch Behar showing, in the public eye, Arjun has been pictured in Mumbai Indians nets taking tips from Lasith Malinga, in the India nets from Zaheer Khan, bowling to Indian women's team, so also to the English cricket team at Lords. One of his deliveries hurt Jonny Bairstow's toe and turned into a news story.

Earlier in the year, Arjun had dropped out of MCA's inaugural Mumbai T20 league when working on a remodelled action following back injuries. "He's had back issues because of his sharp growth. He was getting taller and taller and the way bones react. But he is past it now and it's settled," Banerjee says.

Arjun's support group is confident of his prospects. Cricket romantics would hope Arjun's fast shaping left-arm deliveries are enough to settle the debate and discussions around his selection too.

Source: India Today

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