How old is old?

Pravin Tambe... the never say die spirit.-R.V. MOORTHY

Success is not always about stats but about making something out of nothing. In that respect, Pravin Tambe will feel proud that he has achieved something when he hangs up his boots.

The Champions League T20 triumph was seen by the Mumbai Indians side as a fitting tribute to the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, while their opponents, the Rajasthan Royals were left to rue as they could not give the farewell that they had planned for Rahul Dravid. However, the way the Royals side has performed over the last couple of seasons would be deemed as a tribute by Rahul Dravid.

With Tendulkar announcing his retirement almost immediately after the CLT20 triumph the spotlight once again shifted to him. But amidst all the emotional reactions and debates about the timing of the legend’s announcement, another cricketer who has proved that T20 is not necessarily a young man’s game was overlooked. He was instrumental in RR conquering the mighty CSK in the semifinal and but for his economical spell in the final, MI would have probably notched up a record score.

What is admirable about this 42-year-old man is his persistence, enthusiasm and temperament despite not really being exposed to competitive cricket before RR roped him in. Most spinners with enough experience in domestic and international cricket have struggled at times to cope when they were pummelled by the batsmen. But that did not have any effect on a Pravin Tambe, who not only convinced the RR management that he deserved a look in but performed admirably against some big hitters in the game.

It was really amazing to see a player who was so full of beans at an age when almost all cricketers would resort to watching the game while nursing an amber liquid. Tambe’s enthusiasm was at times a little exaggerated, but it is understandable for he is aware enough to be sprightly in modern day cricket. It will be interesting to hear from him as to what made him pursue his cricket even though there was seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel during the prime of his life.

Of course, one is only as young or as old as he feels but to sustain the enthusiasm and persist as Tambe has done takes a lot of doing. I will not be surprised if he has played for RR without even bothering to insist on a formal signing. The 42-year-old youngster will be an inspiration to millions of youngsters in his own way in that he has bucked the trend in every manner possible. From a cricketing angle, his leg spinners may not deviate a lot but his control and consistency in bowling a stump to stump line has enabled him to rein in the best in the business.

Tambe had to contend with just plying his trade in a private academy in Mumbai and though the quality of local cricket in that city is high, the attributes that are necessary to succeed in an intense atmosphere that prevails in an IPL or a CLT20 game are totally different. It is a tribute to his steely determination that he will continue to play when the Tendulkars and the Dravids have exited from the game.

I am not suggesting that Tambe should be put on the same pedestal as those two icons but it is only apt that he is lauded for his resolve and success in a format where either international superstars or young and fresh talent are expected to dominate.

Success is not always about stats but about making something out of nothing. In that respect, Tambe will feel proud that he has achieved something when he hangs up his boots. Like Dravid has pointed out, talent in terms of attitude and commitment are overlooked at times but Tambe has proved that these attributes are as important as obvious talent and exposure to different levels of competition in order to succeed.