One of city's emerging stars Arjun Tendulkar will not be part of the upcoming inaugural edition of the Mumbai T20 League. A budding left-arm pacer, junior Tendulkar is working on his remodelled action and is still not ready to play competitive cricket, as reported by Times of India.
Tendulkar’s absence may come as a jolt to franchises, who were expected to make a beeline for the upcoming youngster at the auction, scheduled to take place at a Bandra hotel on Saturday. The league will be played in city’s Wankhede Stadium between 11-21 March. The 18-year-old has been in good form of late, snaring two five-wicket hauls and a four-for in the 2017-18 U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy.
Tendulkar’s bowling action is being monitored by his coach Atul Gaikwad, who is a Pune based-coach-cum-bio-mechanist.
“His body has grown very quickly in the last couple of years – you can see the difference in his growth almost every couple of months, and perhaps as a result of that, has suffered two back-to-back stress fractures, which saw him ruled out for almost a year. He’s gone through a lot. Every ball of his is monitored by his coach Atul Gaikwad, who has been working closely on his bowling action,” the daily quoted an unnamed source.
The setback comes close on heels of a team owner pulling out of the competition on 27 February.
Tendulkar began working on his bowling action from 8 January and is yet to master it. The decision, it is believed, has been taken in consultation with his iconic father, who incidentally is also the brand ambassador of the league.
“Tendulkar advised that if he wasn’t ready to compete, then he shouldn’t play in the league. The batting great felt that the tournament was a stage for him to perform, and not rectify his action. For him, it was important that Arjun takes one step at a time, and plays only when he’s confident about his new action. Arjun is, after all, just 18, and has a long way to go. He then informed the MCA officials today about it,” the source said.
Meanwhile, according to Mumbai Mirror, a list of 900 players has been sent to the franchises, who have been asked to prune it to 60. A total of 200-250 players are expected to enter the auction pool, and the salary purse is fixed at Rs 35 lakh.
Each team will be allowed to have a squad of 16-20 players, including an icon player. While the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) is learnt to have identified six icon players, they are yet to announce their names. Ajinkya Rahane and Dhawal Kulkarni are expected to be icon players, but there's no word yet on the availability of Rohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur and Shreyas Iyer.
The league will see six teams battling it out for the title — Mumbai North, Mumbai North-West, Mumbai North-East, Mumbai North-Central, Mumbai South-Central, and Mumbai South.