'God of Cricket' Sachin Tendulkar's son Arjun Tendulkar was bought by Mumbai Indians at his base price of Rs 20 lakh at the IPL 2021 players' auction on Thursday. Incidentally, his celebrated father hasn't just played for the franchise but is also the mentor of the side, which is the most successful team in IPL history.
Meanwhile, many on Twitter appeared to be critical of the 21-year-old all-rounder's selection. "Arjun Tendulkar sold to MI. One of the biggest examples of nepotism in recent times," a Twitter user wrote. "If you are ok with Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi's son in politics then why not Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar's son?" another Twitter user wrote.
Now, Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene has spoken on the 'nepotism' debate. The former Sri Lankan captain said that Arjun Tendulkar was picked purely based on skills, and he will learn and evolve with time.
“Whenever we see potential and see that guys are working really hard, we try and invest in that and it’s great to have Arjun. It will be exciting times for Sachin as well to see Arjun wearing the Mumbai t-shirt and be part of the squad,” Jayawardene told the media after the auction.
"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," he said.
"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," he added.
"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 further said.
Besides, Arjun Tendulkar said that he cannot wait for his maiden IPL stint to start with Mumbai Indians. He also thanked the coaches for having faith in him after being picked.
"Since childhood I have always been a die hard fan of Mumbai Indians. I would like to thank the coaches and support staff who showed faith in me. I am excited to join the MI Paltan and can't wait to wear the blue and gold," Arjun said in a video message posted on MI's Twitter handle.