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Rediff.com  » Cricket » I will keep playing for many more years, says 42-year-old Tambe

I will keep playing for many more years, says 42-year-old Tambe

December 03, 2013 08:25 IST

I will keep playing for many more years, says 42-year-old Tambe

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Impossible is nothing!

This may well hold true for Pravin Tambe, who was picked for Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy squad at 42 years of age.

After toiling for 17 years in the maidans of Mumbai playing local tournaments, like the Kanga League club tournament, the leg-spinner finally achieved his dream of being selected for Mumbai.

Tambe became popular after his exploits in the Twenty20 format, a game associated with the youngsters. The veteran bowler was the oldest debutant in the IPL when he made his bow for Rajasthan Royals aged 41 earlier this year. He made a name for himself with a splendid showing in the Champions League T20 in which he took 12 wickets in five games, at an average of 6.50. He finished as the highest wicket-taker and was awarded the 'Golden Wicket trophy'.

After ignoring his performances for a long time, Mumbai's selectors were forced to include him in the Ranji Trophy squad for the upcoming match against Jharkhand, from December 6-10 at the Wankhede stadium.

Tambe spoke with Harish Kotian on his surprise at being selected and what keeps him going at his age.

You have playing club cricket in Mumbai for 17 years now. Do you finally feel you have achieved your target of getting selected for Mumbai's Ranji Trophy team?

It's a dream come true for me. It will be more special if I can manage to find a place in the playing eleven. For anyone who plays local cricket in the maidans of Mumbai, his ultimate dream is to wear that Mumbai jersey and play for Mumbai.

When I was playing cricket I never thought what I wanted to do in the future. I never played cricket because I wanted to be selected for the Ranji Trophy team or the IPL or the Champions League. I just enjoy playing cricket, and when I step on the field I forget everything else. I play with that same mentality in every match, at any level, whether it is a local practice match or a tournament. I love playing cricket and I want to keep playing as long as I can.

I just want to say that I love this game a lot.


Image: Pravin Tambe
Photographs: BCCI

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'I was not expecting a call because Mumbai is doing so well'

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Were you shocked by the selection to the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team? For a long time your performances were ignored by the selectors...

I was in good form in the local matches, I have taken three six-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul in the Kanga League matches so far. These are basically selection matches for Mumbai Ranji Trophy.

I just want to play cricket and that is what I did after coming back to Mumbai from the Champions League T20.

I was surprised by my selection somewhat, because Mumbai is doing well in the Ranji Trophy this season. They are top of the group after four matches. I was not expecting a call because Mumbai are doing so well. I was happy for Mumbai because I love it when they do well; I always support them. When I got the call about my selection I was really happy.

How special will it be to wear the Mumbai cap if you get picked in the playing eleven against Jharkhand? Does the thought excite you?

That will be the biggest thing of my career. I feel I have still not achieved anything so far. If I get to wear the Mumbai cap and play for them, that will be the biggest moment in my life.

Former coach Sudhir Naik says he wanted to pick you for Mumbai when you were 38, but his wish was not granted as the selectors felt that it would be a ‘backward step’ for Mumbai cricket. Now you have finally made it to the squad. Are you angry that you were not picked earlier?

I don’t have any regrets; I am not angry with anyone. I never started playing cricket to achieve something; I never do it. I play cricket because I love the game.


Image: Pravin Tambe
Photographs: BCCI

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'It was a big experience to play in the IPL'

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At 41 years and 212 days, you were the oldest IPL debutant. How was the experience of playing in the IPL, where young players are in demand most of the time?

It was a big experience to play in the IPL because I had not played any first class cricket when I was picked by Rajasthan Royals. I was doing well in local matches after which they called me for trails, where I did well. They picked me and gave me a chance to play in the IPL. I thank the management of Rajasthan Royals for their support.

It was because of Rajasthan Royals that I got a chance to perform in the IPL and everybody noticed me. If not for the IPL, I don’t think anyone would have known about me. That is why I want to thank everyone at Rajasthan Royals, especially Rahul Dravid, who gave me a chance to play.

I also want to thank Orient Shipping and the cricketers there for giving me a chance. Then Dr Vijay Patil Sir and Abey Kuruvilla Sir came into my life and played a big role in my career and encouraged me to take my game forward. They gave me all the facilities to practice with the best infrastructure and I want to thank them for all their help. My family has also played a major role in my career.


Image: Pravin Tambe
Photographs: BCCI

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'After the IPL, I have appointed a personal fitness trainer'

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Sachin Tendulkar recently retired at the age of 40 saying his body was no longer able to cope with the demands of modern day cricket. How do you manage to stay in shape and maintain your fitness standard?

I follow all the fitness procedures which we normally do in cricket. I do weight training in the gym, cardio exercises, and I practice my bowling for nearly two to three hours every day. That is how I stay fit. Recently I also started following a diet programme.

After the IPL I have appointed a personal fitness trainer near my residence in Mulund to help me with weight training. I trained with him for nearly three months; I felt it made a lot of difference when I played in the Champions League.


Image: Pravin Tambe
Photographs: BCCI
Tags: IPL

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'I can never forget my time under Dravid at Rajasthan'

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How was it playing under India’s legendary batsman and captain Rahul Dravid at Rajasthan Royals? What did you learn from him?

At Rajasthan Royals we used to practice and play together, so he used to watch me a lot when I would bowl. He would talk to me and offer a lot of guidance... on how I should bowl and my role in the team and lot of other things with regard to my bowling. He helped me a lot during the Champions League.

Playing under him was a big thing for me. It was always my dream to play along side such a legendary player like Dravid and I was thrilled when I finally achieved it. It also gave me a lot of confidence to play under a captain like Dravid, share the dressing room with him and work him with in the nets. I can never forget my time under Dravid at Rajasthan.

Dravid told me one thing: ‘keep playing in the same way you have been; don’t try to change anything or try anything new.’ His advice will stay with forever till the time I play cricket and I will continue to play in the same way I have been doing for so many years now.


Image: Pravin Tambe (left) with Rahul Dravid
Photographs: BCCI

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'It is a dream of any cricketer to play with Sachin Tendulkar'

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You also bowled to Sachin Tendulkar in the nets before his last Ranji Trophy match, in Mumbai. How was the experience?

It is a dream of any cricketer to play with Sachin Tendulkar; it was the happiest moment of my life to have done so. He makes batting look so easy and he makes us feel that we need to work on our bowling a lot more. I learnt a lot by bowling to him in the nets before his last Ranji Trophy match.

I bowled at him for two days. I was hoping to play in his last Ranji Trophy match [against Haryana at Lahli] because I had played in his last IPL match, in the final of the tournament, but I was not picked.


Image: Pravin Tambe
Photographs: BCCI

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'I am sure that I will keep playing for many years to come'

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How many more years do you intend to play?

Till I enjoy cricket I will continue playing. I don’t think I will stop enjoying any time soon. Let’s see how far it takes me. As of now, I am enjoying it a lot and I am sure that I will keep playing for many years to come.


Image: Pravin Tambe
Photographs: BCCI
Tags: Letrsquo

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