Hope people leave him alone, says Sachin, the proud father

Calcutta: The Pataudis, the Mankads, the Amarnaths till the 1960s... The Gaekwads, the Roys, the Manjrekars, the Kanitkars, the Singhs, the Gavaskars after that...

It's reasonably safe to bet on Sachin and Arjun Tendulkar entering the league of father-son combinations to play cricket for India.

For many, the first step was taken on Thursday when Mumbai's selectors named the 13-plus Arjun in the squad for the U-14 intra-zone tournament.

Mumbai's first match (a three-day affair), against Gujarat, is in Ahmedabad from January 20.

Arjun's selection comes less than three weeks after Sachin announced retirement from ODIs. He's only available for Test cricket and even that may not be for long.

Except when it comes to cricket, Sachin is a left-hander. Arjun is a full-fledged leftie and is recognised more as an all-rounder. That's a breed which is much in demand.

Sachin, of course, doesn't want the glare on Arjun. In fact, in an SMS to this Reporter, around 8.30 pm, he sought space for his son.

"Like any other parent, I feel extremely happy and proud that he's part of Mumbai's U-14 team. His hard work has paid off. I hope people leave him alone to enjoy this beautiful game as a normal member of the team..."

That's easier said than done, but expect Arjun not to utter a word till he has his father's okay. Mother Anjali is as, if not more, protective of the teenager.

Two years ago, in the lead-up to the Cape Town Test, Sachin specifically requested The Telegraph not to seek a comment from Arjun after a crowd-inviting session of batting and bowling in the practice area at beautiful Newlands.

Asked if he was Arjun's mentor, Sachin had replied: "No... Not at all... I don't interfere with his cricket... I let him be."

On India's last tour of Australia, in 2011-12, Arjun had been the cynosure yet again ' in the days before the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

According to an agency report, Arjun recently scored a hundred (Sachin has a 100 hundreds in Tests and ODIs!) for Khar Gymkhana at the colts level. He's also caught the eye turning out for the Dhirubhai Ambani International School.

Well, watch out for Arjun making headlines in the Mumbai colours, albeit at the U-14 level.

For now, that is.

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