Budding cricketer and star kid Arjun Tendulkar made another significant progress in his nascent career when he got selected into the India U-19 squad for their upcoming tour of Sri Lanka.
Arjun, son of batting legend Sachin, has been selected in the squad that will play two four-day fixtures with the tour set to commence in July.
Arjun, a left-arm pacer, had earlier been part of a National Cricket Academy (NCA) camp alongside 25 other U-19 players that took place last week at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, according to The Tribune.
Arjun has also represented Mumbai in U-19 cricket, having collected a five-wicket haul against Madhya Pradesh in a Cooch Behar Trophy match in November last year.
Incidentally, Himachal Pradesh's Ayush Jamwal (50 wickets) is not in any of the teams as he is now over age.
"There is a clear direction from BCCI and coach Rahul Dravid that those who will surpass 19 by this year should not be selected even if they have performed. Let them play Ranji Trophy according to Rahul. So a lot of boys ahead of Arjun are disqualified," a senior BCCI official told PTI on Thursday.
However, Harsh Tyagi (49 wickets), a left-arm spinner from Delhi is in both the squads.
When a source close to the selection committee was asked how Arjun, despite being 43rd in the wicket takers list, made the cut, he explained: "If you look at the List, Arjun is the only genuine quick bowler who has more than 15 wickets. Most of the bowlers above him are spinners with only Ajay Dev Goud (33 wickets) being a genuine all-rounder. He is a slow medium bowler while Arjun is quick bowler."
Also in a zonal U-19 match between West and South Zone at Una, Tendulkar junior got 4 for 37 including three wickets in one spell.
"A lot of people don't know U-19 zonals are happening at Una and Arjun has done well there."
Arjun has trained under former India fast bowler Subroto Banerjee, a close friend of Tendulkar.
Junior Tendulkar has been in the limelight for quite some time now, both for the right as well as wrong reasons. He has shown a plenty of promise as a fast bowler — which incidentally Sachin had aspired to be at one point — and even sent Jonny Bairstow limping with a yorker while bowling in the nets during the England-South Africa Test series in 2017.
However, there have also been accusations of him being favoured over other youngsters due to his father's legacy, especially when he edged out another famous name Pranav Dhanawade (of the 1,009-runs-in-an-innings fame) to the U-16 zonal squad. However, Dhanawade's father Prashant cleared the air over the controversy, stating that the selection had been made before his son's record-breaking innings, and that Arjun had made it to the squad purely on the basis of his hard work.
Arjun, though, couldn't break into the one-day squad for the Sri Lanka tour, which will be led by Aryan Juyal, who was the second wicketkeeper in the victorious World Cup squad, has been included despite the rule that no player who has played one U-19 WC would be in the squad.
"Juyal is very young and has not graduated to first class level. So it's better he gets some match practice," the source said.
WV Raman has been given an extension and will be the coach of this team as Dravid will be with the A squad in England.
India U-19 squad for 2 four-day games: Anuj Rawat (C), Atharva Taide, Devdutt Padikkal, Aryan Juyal (WK), Yash Rathod, Ayush Badoni, Sameer Choudhary, Siddharth Desai, Harsh Tyagi, YD Mangwani, Arjun Tendulkar, Nehal Wadhera, Akash Pande, Mohit Jangra, Pawan Shah.
India U-19 squad for one-days: Aryan Juyal (C) (WK), Anuj Rawat,, Devdutt Padikkal, Atharva Taide, Yash Rathod, Ayush Badoni, Sameer Choudhary, Siddharth Desai, Harsh Tyagi, YD Mangwani, Ajay Devgaud, Y Jaiswal, Mohit Jangra, Akash Pande, Pawan Shah.
With inputs from PTI