Legend joined by son, 14, during practice session ahead of Mumbai Test match
As reporters and photographers waited outside the Team India dressing room at the Wankhede stadium for Sachin Tendulkar to emerge, his 14-year-old son Arjun came out, much to the surprise of everyone. As the photographers went into a tizzy, Arjun had a long conversation with Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni before joining other India players for practice.
The Little Master was the last to step out, carrying two bats and two pads. A fan thrust out a notebook requesting the great man’s autograph unmindful that his hands were full. Placing all the cricket equipment on the stairs, Sachin obliged the fan and acknowledged others who were busy trying to get a photograph of him on their mobile phone cameras.
Unlike his father, Arjun is a left-hander. The youngster bowled at the nets as his father kept a watchful eye. As the photographers clicked away, one journalist in the crowd remarked: “It would be better he becomes a bowler or every day of his life his batting will be compared to his father.”
It may be recalled that Tendulkar recently appealed to journalists to leave his son alone after Arjun, who made his debut in the local Kanga League, got out for one run and television channels highlighted the news. The batting maestro had expressed concern that such coverage could prove detrimental for his son who is madly in love with the game.
Still, some journalists could not resist comparing Arjun with Tendulkar. “At Arjun’s age, Tendulkar was already knocking at the doors of Mumbai team and, two years later, at 16 he represented India,” said one. Incidentally, Arjun is a member of the Mumbai under-14 team now.
As the drama was unfolding in the practice area, the stadium was getting dressed up for Sachin’s farewell Test. Fifty-one posters detailing each of his Test centuries were being put up on the roof all around the ground.