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Arjun Tendulkar's selection in Mumbai u-14 squad triggers controversy

If a poll was taken today over whether team selections in India can be without controversy, the answer overwhelmingly would be “unlikely”.

When Sachin Tendulkar’s 12-year-old son, Arjun, was picked to represent Mumbai for the U-14 West Zone league matches, the news was greeted with a lot of cheer.

The move was hailed as the first step for Arjun in trying to emulate his illustrious father.

But, the cheer only lasted a couple of days, with many parents disgruntled by the selection committee snubbing their children alleging nepotism was involved in Arjun’s selection.

According to media reports, parents were surprised at Arjun Tendulkar’s presence in the squad in place of “better performing cricketers”.

The non-inclusion of several youngsters who had performed strongly in various tournaments has riled several parents.

The most glaring omissions are -- Bhupen Lalwani, student of Don Bosco (Matunga), who struck an unbeaten 398 off just 277 deliveries against IES Modern School in the Giles Shield (Elite Division). And spinner Satyak Patel from Hansraj Morarji school who has been a consistent performer for his team this season.

In comparison, Arjun Tendulkar’s lack of big scores gives an opportunity to the disappointd parents to point fingers. Arjun’s best score, 124, had come last May in the Mumbai Under-14 trials for Khar Gymkhana against Goregaon Centre; his next best is a 70, was scored last week for Shastri XI in the Vengsarkar Foundation Cup at Mahul.

Mumbai Cricket Association have a lot of expectations from the 12-year-old. “Arjun showed good form in the summer vacation U-14 tournament conducted by MCA. He has the genes of none other than Sachin Tendulkar and we expect him to play well. He is surely a player to watch out for,” MCA joint secretary and junior selection panel convener, Dr PV Shetty said.

Twelve-year-old Arjun, a student of Dhirubhai Ambani International School, is a top order left-handed batsman and left-arm medium-pacer. He turned up for Khar Centre in 2012 for the MCA summer vacation tournament.

When Arjun was select included in MCA U-14 probables last year, Khar’s coach Rajesh Sanil had told MiD DAY, “Arjun is a decent cricketer and is quite disciplined as well. He has it in him to succeed, but needs to work on his fielding.”

Sanil had further said that Arjun has an amazingly wide repertoire of shots at a young age and is apt at handling the handling the pressure. 

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