Six years ago, Pravin Tambe was the oldest player to feature in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match, for Rajasthan Royals, at 41. On Thursday, the leg-spinner received a shot in the arm as Kolkata Knight Riders bought him at his base price of Rs 20 lakh and thus, gave him an opportunity to revive his T20 career.
Yet again, the 48-year-old was the oldest cricketer in the auction pool.
Mumbai boy Tambe came up through the Kanga League ranks, and his IPL debut had happened before first-class cricket. He turned out for Rajasthan Royals for three seasons before the franchise was suspended for two years. In 2016, he was part of now-defunct Gujarat Lions.
“I am looking forward because KKR are two-time champions. It is not that I haven’t been playing cricket. I am continuously playing local tournaments. I may not have played the IPL [for three years] but I am very much in touch with the game. Since I am in the loop, it should not be a problem. I have been playing all formats.
"I was playing a match for the DY Patil team at Shivaji Park, today. Then, I came back home to watch the auctions,” he told Sportstar on Thursday.
"IPL is a big tournament with big players. As I have played the tournament, the experience will be useful,” he added.
Though excited, Tambe doesn’t want to think too much about the surprise selection at the moment. “I will wait to hear the role that KKR assigns; whether they want me to bowl in the PowerPlay or the middle overs. I will have to prepare accordingly.”
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Age is just a number for Tambe. “Whenever anyone asks me that question, I cross-question asking the person ‘how old did you say I am? (laughs) . It is true because I never think how old I am. Similarly, fitness has never been an issue as well, as I play regularly. Whenever I am in the ground, I completely forget everything. And as long as I can compete, I am good,” said Tambe, who had taken a hat-trick against KKR in 2014. He was also the Purple Cap holder (bowler with most wickets) in that season.
Tambe feels the batsmen have become more destructive in the IPL in recent times. “Overall, there is no major change but teams are regularly putting up big totals on board. And the wrist spinners are being used a lot, which is good for me.”
Tambe understands the challenge that awaits. “The wickets are also challenging these days. We have to prepare keeping all these things in mind. When I was playing in RR, it was a grassy wicket and the KKR wicket is also like that. It will suit me,” he said. Besides IPL, the leggie also featured in Champions League T20 where he did not concede a six for 15 straight overs in four matches.
Having played the T20 Mumbai League and the T10 format in Abu Dhabi, Tambe is all about the experience. His inputs will be beneficial for the KKR youngsters.
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