Arjun comes of age as colts beat Pak
Chandigarh: In September last year, a young opening batsman from Chandigarh impressed during a Dhruv Pandove Trophy match between Mumbai and Punjab under-19s. Arjun Azad, then a relative unknown, handled his more famous namesake — Mumbai pacer Arjun Tendulkar — with élan, scoring 151 and making coaches from Punjab sit up and take notice.
On Saturday, Azad — this time playing for India under-19 — scored a century as the colts beat Pakistan comfortably by 60 runs during their Asia Cup match in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. Opening the innings, Arjun scored 121 off 111 balls and added a match-winning 183 with the other centurion of the day, No. 3 batsman NT Tilak Verma (110 off 119 balls). Batting first, India U-19 scored 305/9 in 50 overs. In reply, Pakistan were bowled out for 245 in 46.4 overs, with left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar bagging 3/36 off his 10 overs.
Arjun hit 11 fours and 4 sixes while Tilak had 10 boundaries and a six to his credit. None of the other India U-19 batsmen could go past 20.
“I have no words to describe my feeling. It will take some time to sink in,” Arjun, who bagged his second player of the match award in the tournament, told TOIfrom Sri Lanka. “It was a good pitch to bat on. I took my time and once I settled in, started playing my shots. I scored an unbeaten 60 against Kuwait in the first match. It gave me the confidence that I belong here. I want to continue scoring consistently.”
Brief scores: India U-19 305/9 in 50 overs (Arjn Azad 121, NT Tilak Verma 110, Naseem Shah 3/52) bt Pak U-19 245 in 46.4 overs (Rohail Khan 117, Atharva Ankolekar 3/36).