“Purely on a skill basis” – MI head coach Mahela Jayawardene justifies buying Arjun Tendulkar

It didn’t come as a surprise to many when Sachin Tendulkar’s son, Arjun Tendulkar, was bought by the Mumbai Indians (MI) at the IPL 2021 Auction.

The moment the 21-year-old registered himself for the auction and was named on the 292-player shortlist, most fans knew he was likely heading to the defending IPL champions.

Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, MI head coach Mahela Jayawardene explained the reason behind snapping up the youngster.

“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,” Mahela Jayawardene said.

Arjun Tendulkar has only played two senior games for the Mumbai team. Both of his outings came in the recently-concluded Syed Mushtaq Ai Trophy. The youngster picked up a couple of wickets and scored just three runs in the domestic T20 tournament.

However, he showcased his all-round talent in a Police Shield game last week, scoring a quickfire 77 and picking up three wickets.

Arjun Tendulkar, being the son of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, will certainly be under the microscope. Jayawardene doesn’t want to put too much pressure on the youngster and said in this regard:

“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, who feels Arjun Tendulkar will only get better with time, believes the 21-year-old possesses the skills to become a reliable all-rounder.

“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,” Jayawardene asserted.

While Arjun Tendulkar may not get consistent game time in a star-studded MI outfit, the experience of sharing the dressing room with world-class players will surely help him in the long run.

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