Can Arjun Tendulkar overcome the arduous journey ahead?

Arjun Tendulkar’s selection for the India U-19 side that will tour Sri Lanka for two four-day games has caught the fancy of cricket lovers in India. While many are thrilled to see the ex-Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar’s son getting an opportunity to show his mettle, there are some who have raised their eyebrows and have questioned the true worth of this decision by the selectors.

Regardless, it is a huge moment in the youngster’s life who has been striving hard to overcome burden of his illustrious surname. Sachin Tendulkar was and still is one of the biggest names in Indian cricket history. His son Arjun has had to face incredible scrutiny ever since he has entered the world of age-level cricket and every failure of his has made news, raising questions over his talent and ability to last the distance.

Now that he has made the U-19 side, the journey ahead would be that much more difficult for Arjun. Many people would be waiting for him to fail and many would be anticipating him to do well. The pressure thus would be immense and it is something that Arjun would have to learn to cope with if he wishes to make it to the next stage.

For an 18-year-old kid who just wants to play cricket, scrutiny of this kind is unjustified. Sachin has requested the media several times to leave his son alone and just let him play the game. But that, unfortunately, will never be. Arjun would have to keep proving himself in front of the world repeatedly and that is the sad truth.

Thankfully, Arjun, who is a left-arm fast bowler and a proper lower middle order batsman, seems to have a mature head on his shoulders and is doing decently enough. He has got a lot of international exposure and has played for a lot of representative clubs in India and England. He has trained at the indoor academy at Lord’s and has also been nets bowler to members of England and Indian team at different times.

Earlier this year, while representing the Cricket Club of India XI against a Hong Kong-based side at the Bradman Oval in Adelaide, Arjun scored a quickfire 48 off 27 balls as an opener and then went to snare four wickets. He had also made news last year when he had got a four-wicket haul while playing for the MCC team that faced the Namibia U-19 side in England.

And that wasn’t all. In the 2017-18 Cooch Behar Trophy Arjun captured 19 wickets in just 5 games with two five-wicket hauls for the Mumbai U-19 side.

Clearly, the youngster has some talent and deserves the opportunities he is getting. Indian cricket is in dire need of a good fast bowling all-rounder and if honed well, Arjun could be the one for the future. He clearly has the skills for it. For now, Arjun is being trained under the watchful eyes of former India fast bowler Subroto Banerjee who has a wealth of experience. All Arjun can do now is to keep working hard, remain focused and shut out the outside world of media critics and social media naysayers. Because they will never stop. It is unfair but this is the only way.

The upcoming journey for Arjun Tendulkar is not going to be easy because he will all be considered as Sachin’s son first and a cricketer later. Here is hoping that young Arjun finds a way to overcome his surname and be talked about only for his performances and talent.

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