42-year-old Tambe proves age is just a number
For one who has not even played first class cricket, let alone international matches, Pravin Tambe’s exploits in the just-concluded Champions League T20, says Manu Shankar, is a tremendous achievement.
‘Age is a question of mind over matter.’ So said Leroy Robert ‘Satchel’ Paige.
Quite a few sportsmen have over the years proved that the American baseball legend had made the right statement.
While 40-plus is generally considered to be a post-retirement period for sportspersons, there are a few who have defied the consideration.
Pravin Vijay Tambe is the latest case in point.
The Mumbai-based leg break bowler celebrates his 42nd birthday today, and two days ahead of the same he had assured himself the best possible gift, the Golden Wicket - for taking the most wickets at the just-concluded Champions League T20.
Image: Pravin Tambe
Tambe's haul of 12 wickets, at an economy rate of just over three, helped Rajasthan Royals make it to the final.
For the bowler, it marked a new beginning.
For someone who has not even played first class cricket, let alone international matches, it is, without doubt, a tremendous achievement.
Like the legendary Anil Kumble, Tambe too started off as a medium pacer before finding his calling as a leg-spinner.
His cricket credentials before the IPL this year was nothing much to shout about. He has been playing in the local league since 1996, and in 2000 did play for a representative Mumbai team against Kenya.
Dravid was impressed with Tambe
Besides, he had a few stints in England, at the Liverpool and District Cricket Competition.
However, his big leap came earlier this year, when he was selected to represent Rajasthan Royals ahead of the sixth edition of the IPL.
The talent scouts from the franchise, on a routine day, got glued in on a 41-year-old leggie, who was beating batsmen all ends up at the DY Patil Stadium.
He was soon called for a trial with the team and the rest, as they say, is history.
So impressed was Royals skipper Rahul Dravid that Tambe was immediately drafted him into the side.
On May 7, 2013 he wore the Royals colours, debuting in the match against Delhi Daredevils.
Tambe has made an impact with a string of impressive performances, first in the IPL and now in the Champions League Twenty20.
'It is terrific story'
In the latter, he had superb figures of 4 for 15 against Highveld Lions, while also being impressive against the formidable batting line-ups of Chennai Super Kings (in the semi-finals) and Mumbai Indians (in the final).
No points for guessing, Dravid was all praise of this new find.
“What a story. For someone who has not even got a chance to play first-class cricket and has worked hard all these years in Kanga league, it is terrific story,” Dravid was quoted as saying.
“He has got great control. It’s Tambe’s experience, the number of hours he has bowled in his career. It has been decades now. He’s been bowling in club cricket for decades and he’s very willing to learn.”
'My job is to perform and I don't think about other things'
“We always knew he has the skills. Some people were surprised because he is a 42-year-old and there were a few raised eyebrows when we selected him, but he has the mental strength to come true. It takes a good temperament to play in such an environment and he has showed he has it in him,” he added.
The man himself prefers to be modest about his achievements.
“I don’t think about my age but only about my game. Royals picked me because of my game and they did not look at my age," said Tambe, when queried about the age factor.
“My job is to perform and I don’t think about other things,” he added.
Yet another example of an individual who has proved that age is just a number!