ALSO READ: Important milestone in Arjun’s cricketing life, says Sachin
Sachin’s story is the stuff fairytales are made of. But one dream of his remained unfulfilled. As a 13-year-old, he had visited the MRF Pace Academy with the hope of becoming a fast bowler, but was rejected by Australian pace legend Dennis Lillee, who advised him to “stick to batting”. The rest is history.
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Arjun, who will turn 19 this September, is living his father’s dream. The nippy pacer will be part of the junior squad that will tour Sri Lanka in July to play two four-day matches. The team will be coached by former India batsman WV Raman, with Rahul Dravid away for the India A tour to England.
Arjun has worked very hard: Sachin
The proud father sent a brief message to the media from London. “Thanks for the good wishes. We are happy about Arjun’s selection. It is an important milestone in his cricketing life. Anjali and I will always support Arjun in his choices and pray for his success,” said Sachin.
Arjun’s coach, Atul Gaikwad, said: “Arjun’s hard work has paid off”.
Pune-based Gaikwad is a level-3 coach from the National Cricket Academy (NCA) with a PhD in biomechanics, who has worked at Brisbane’s Centre of Excellence. He was roped in by Sachin himself to coach Arjun three years ago.
It hasn’t been an easy journey for Arjun. “I’ve seen that boy very closely. From suffering back-to-back stress fractures three years ago to struggling with a spate of injuries, he has worked very hard to get here,” said Gaikwad.
Having remodelled his action recently after suffering several injuries, Arjun can whip up good pace, the primary reason why the selectors opted for him. “On a good day, he can consistently touch 135 (kmph),” said Gaikwad.
Asked why Sachin chose him to work with Arjun, Gaikwad said he had no idea. “He never told me and I never asked him,” said Gaikwad, who has also worked intensively with India women’s captain Mithali Raj over the years.
Like any son born to a famous father, Arjun is bound to face the pressure of comparison and questions about whether he really deserves his spot. “I expect him to handle it well. Personally, I’ve never seen him take advantage of his father’s name.
For instance, never did he expect his coaches to give him any special attention because he is Sachin’s son nor has he ever made noise about it. I only hope people don’t jump the gun and start talking trash about why he’s here and whose son he is. Watch his cricket and see for yourself his talent,” said Gaikwad.