Pravin Tambe, the unsung hero of Rajasthan Royals


Abu Dhabi:  Pravin Tambe, the Mumbai-born 42-year old leg spinner continues to enjoy a golden period in his cricketing career as he helped Rajasthan Royals bowl out Royal Challengers Bangalore for 70 — the lowest total of IPL 7 — and eventually win their second game of the tournament to take the fourth spot in the points table. (Bangalore vs Rajasthan: As it happened)

“I love bowling. The wicket was on the slower side and I decided to bowl the googlies to the left-handers. It really works for me,” Tambe said, as he looked pleased with his effort while collecting the Man of the Match award. (Tambe spins Rajasthan to big win over Bangalore)

“Pravin Tambe is extremely skillful. He’s one of those spinners who batsmen find hard to go after,” said a visibly happy Shane Watson, the skipper of Rajasthan Royals, after the win.

Being a late bloomer, Tambe has been the epitome of hardwork and dedication. He was unfazed and refused to be bogged down while spending a majority of his 20s and early 30s on the sidelines for Mumbai despite strong, consistent performances in the Kanga League.

In the sixth season of the Indian Premier League in 2013, the Rahul Dravid-led Rajasthan Royals picked him up and he made the most of his chances. Two wickets at an economy rate of just over seven earned him a chance to represent Rajasthan in the Champions League T20 later that year when he witnessed the finest hour of his career.

While most cricketers in their 40s start to look at alternative avenues that are far more relaxing, Tambe was busy scripting a fairy tale for himself. With 12 wickets in five matches at an astonishing economy rate of 4.10, Tambe finished as the leading wicket-taker and the best bowler of Champions League T20 2013. With his miserly line and gripping turn, Tambe became the first and the only bowler to bowl 15 overs and not concede a single six.

A few months later, he got the opportunity to make his domestic debut for Mumbai and became a regular feature in the side from then on. Even as teams went for a reshuffle ahead of IPL 2014, Rahul Dravid, who was at the Rajasthan Royals’ table, was quick to bid and bag Tambe for the 2014 season as well.

Tambe has repaid mentor Dravid’s faith with five wickets and an economy rate of 6.00 in four matches so far and has orchestrated one of the biggest wins of the tournament against a top-heavy side in Bangalore. The veteran, however, will continue to keep his head down and work hard for he will truly believe that the best is yet to come.