The Tonk: Tendulkar junior to grace SCG’s hallowed turf

Sachin Tendulkar has contributed richly to the history of the SCG. It was at the famous venue that, as an 18-year-old, he announced himself to the country with his maiden Test ton on Australian soil. Twelve years later he rained on Steve Waugh’s farewell Test with an unbeaten 241 after shelving his cover drive, and he made 154 not out in the infamous Bollyline Test of 2008.

On Sunday, nearly six years after his last match at the famous ground, it will be his son’s turn to grace the hallowed turf. Arjun Tendulkar, 18, is lining up for the Cricket Club of India in a Twenty20 match as part of the Spirit of Cricket Global Challenge, a tournament run by SCG Cricket.

There is even talk his father may be making a whirlwind trip from India just to see his son play at the ground, where his name is etched on the honour boards. Tendulkar, you’ll remember, is also the first overseas player to be given an honorary life membership of the SCG.

Unlike his father, Tendulkar junior is a left-arm quick, though he impressed this week with the bat, whacking a quick-fire 40-odd not out at Coogee Oval. Arjun has not hit the professional ranks but last year was picked in an under-19 side by Mumbai for an invitational one-day competition.

The son of a gun was playing at Bradman Oval in Bowral on Thursday and, our operatives tell us, will be in the crowd on Saturday night for the Big Bash League’s Sydney Derby.

The Tendulkar family is fiercely protective of Arjun’s privacy with all interview and photo requests having to go through his father. Pay war protagonists to meet

It was the greatest civil war the game had seen since World Series Cricket and wounds have not fully healed five months after a peace deal was struck in the bitter pay dispute.

An uneasiness remains about how Cricket Australia conducted itself during the standoff, and not just from the players’ side of the fence. There are figures in state land who were also unsatisfied with the approach taken by head office, having seen 230 cricketers around the country left unemployed for more than a month last winter.

However, now that the dust has properly settled, and the Ashes have been run and won, executives and directors on both sides appear to be at least attempting to improve relations.

Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Alistair Nicholson says his organisation’s president, former Australian wicketkeeper Greg Dyer, is expected to meet “a couple of CA board members” this month to discuss ways to avoid such a crisis ever occurring again.

“Now the Ashes is done, that conversation will now happen,” Nicholson told The Tonk.

“I think that the boards have to have some crossover, to at least try to understand some of the good and bad things that came out of it. There hasn’t been a lot of interaction on that with CA up until now.”

This week marks 100 days since the actual five-year memorandum of understanding was signed – there were weeks of to-and-fro following the heads of agreement deal that effectively ended the pay war – and the governing body and the players’ union have restored top-level contact beneath the board level.

“I can’t speak for him, but [CA chief] James [Sutherland] and I have a pretty good professional relationship,” Nicholson said. “And I’m dealing with [CA team performance boss] Pat Howard regularly on things. A couple of board members meeting in January from both sides of the board … I think that’s important.”

The ACA will later this month mark its 20th anniversary. Ashes pitches given thumbs up

There’s been much criticism of the pitches used for this summer’s Tests with many from both the Australian and England camps unhappy. But it seems the International Cricket Council does not share that view, with some of the ratings for this summer’s wickets likely to raise a few eyebrows.

While Australian captain Steve Smith described the Gabba deck as “reasonably disappointing”, the uncharacteristically slow pitch was given the highest possible rating of “very good” by match referee Richie Richardson. Not surprisingly, the Adelaide Oval was also given full points while Perth was judged to be “good”.

The MCG, as we all know, was slammed as “poor” while the SCG is set to be a tick with a grading of “good” or “very good” likely.

The ICC findings are at odds with the widespread view in the Australian game that the country’s pitches have become homogenised. Another son of a gun

Our loyal readers will be aware Usman Qadir, the son of Pakistan leg-spin great Abdul Qadir, has been turning heads in Sydney’s first-grade competition. Well, it seems word has spread well beyond the suburbs.

The 24-year-old leggie this week had a bowl in the nets with the Perth Scorchers. One spy tells us he gave Test opener Cameron Bancroft a bit of trouble. We also hear Perth and Western Australia coach and former Test great Justin Langer is very impressed. Again, watch this space.

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