For 41-year-old Pravin Tambe, the last couple of months have been unlike any other he has ever experienced, seeing as how he was an unlikely inclusion in the Rajasthan Royals’ squad. Since then, the Mumbai-based spinner has been one a talking point among the cricketing faithful across the country. (Also Read: MI vs RR - M66 Report & Stats: IPL 2013)
However, Tambe’s journey has stretched many years prior to IPL 2013, when as a club cricketer he toiled in virtual anonymity. During all those years – and even post 40 – Tambe was driven by his love and passion towards a sport that has now afforded him the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in the world. In only his second IPL outing, Tambe got to bowl against the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium. While the leggie has plied his trade at this ground before, it has always been at the club level. Showcasing his skills in front of a packed house at the home of Indian cricket was undoubtedly a dream come true for him.
Here are excerpts from Tambe’s exclusive chat with IPLT20.com, during which he also spoke about emulating legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble:
On getting his first IPL wicket
It felt really good to get my first IPL wicket (against MI), especially when my team needed it. I was waiting since the last time I got an opportunity to play and this time I got a wicket. But unfortunately, I gave away a few extra funs than expected, but I am happy about the wicket.
On playing at Wankhede Stadium
Actually, it is dreams come true! I have played plenty of matches here, but since I got to play an IPL game here, I am very happy.
I have played club cricket here, so I knew a bit about the ground. However, playing in the IPL out here is something else.
On missing out on bowling to Sachin Tendulkar, who did not play versus RR
It was also my dream to bowl against Sachin Tendulkar. I was wondering whether I would get to bowl at him, but it didn’t happen during this game.
Whether he has picked up any new tricks from other spinners in the league
Actually, I don’t learn new tricks as such at this stage in my life. I just exchange knowledge with other spinners. However, at this level, you cannot try too many things and have to stick to what you know.
On his leg-spin role model
Anil Kumble is my role model and I have always been following him. I was lucky that I once played a benefit match in Jaipur at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium where I saw him. From then he has been my idol!
On playing top-level cricket post 40
People are often surprised when they see me, since I do everything – I field, I bat and I bowl. Personally, I don’t feel like I have grown old at all.
On what has kept him going all these years
Love and passion! I have a lot of passion for cricket and I have got a lot of support from home – from my parents, siblings, wife and even kids. That is why I still enjoy playing cricket so much.
On his personal expectations this season
When I got selected by RR, I decided that I need to perform well. Since I have never played Ranji Trophy, I wanted to prove that I could perform at this level. So getting this chance is big for me, and while I haven’t really performed exceptionally yet, I am satisfied with the way things have turned out for me so far.