Standing at 6 ft 1 inch, 18-year-old Arjun is a left-arm fast bowler and a handy lower middle-order batsman. Two India U-19 squads were announced in Bengaluru with Anuj Rawat and Aryan Juyal leading the side.
However, an innocuous selection meeting became interesting as the three member selection committee comprising Ashish Kapoor, Gyanendra Pandey and Rakesh Parikh selected Tendulkar junior for the longer version.
Arjun with his tally of 18 wickets from five Cooch Behar Trophy (National U-19) games is 43rd in the list of wicket-takers for the season. He had one five wicket haul (5/95) against MP.
Incidentally, Himachal Pradesh's Ayush Jamwal (50 wickets) is not in any of the teams as he is now over age.
"There is a clear direction from BCCI and coach Rahul Dravid that those who will surpass 19 this year should not be selected even if they have performed. Let them play Ranji Trophy according to Rahul. So a lot of boys ahead of Arjun are disqualified," a senior BCCI official said.
However, Harsh Tyagi (49 wickets), a left-arm spinner from Delhi is in both the squads.
When a source close to the selection committee was asked how Arjun despite being 43rd in the wicket takers list made the cut, he explained: "If you look at the List, Arjun is the only genuine quick bowler who has more than 15 wickets. Most of the bowlers above him are spinners with only Ajay Dev Goud (33 wickets) being a genuine all-rounder. He is a slow medium bowler while Arjun is quick bowler."
Also, in a zonal U-19 match between West and South Zone at Una, Tendulkar junior got 4 for 37 including three wickets in one spell.
"A lot of people don't know U-19 zonals are happening at Una and Arjun has done well there."
Tendulkar senior expressed his happiness on his son's selection in India U-19 team.
"We are happy on Arjun being selected in India U-19 team. It is an important milestone in his cricketing life. Anjali (Tendulkar) and I will always support Arjun in his choices and pray for his success," Tendulkar said.
Arjun has trained under former India fast bowler Subroto Banerjee, a close friend of Tendulkar. He has also bowled at the India nets earlier and was in fast bowlers' camp at Dharamsala organised by the BCCI.
Asked if the youngster will be under pressure, the senior official said: "He is eyeing to become a professional cricketer. He is another member of this Indian squad and he will have to perform. The selectors have given him a chance looking at his potential."
Meanwhile, Aryan Juyal, who was the second wicket-keeper in the victorious World Cup squad, has been included despite the rule that no player who has played one U-19 WC would be in the squad.
"Juyal is very young and has not graduated to first class level. So it's better he gets some match practice," the source said. WV Raman has been given an extension and will be the coach of this team as Dravid will be with the A squad in England.
First Published: June 7, 2018, 6:39 PM IST