Bengaluru, December 20: Pravin Tambe is 48. When many persons in his age category could be busy planning for an impending retired life, the leg-spinner is getting ready to play in the high-octane world of IPL 2020.
Tambe, the oldest player to receive an IPL bid, was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders in the auction on Thursday (December 20) for his base price of Rs 20 lakh and the call was received with smiles and appreciative applause across the auction room.
It may be ironical that Tambe had taken a match-winning hat-trick against the Knight Riders in IPL 2014 as a 43-year-old while playing for Rajasthan Royals and now he is getting ready to play for the same team six years down the line. Tambe, who works as a sports teacher in DY Patil, Mumbai, is the father of an 18-year-old son who is studying for engineering but age has not dwindled his ambition.
"I was never expecting to get picked up. I just tried my luck putting my name in the auction. It came as pleasant surprise when Knight Riders picked me up as we were following the IPL auction. Hopefully, I can contribute to KKR winning a couple of matches," Tamble told MyKhel.
So, how does it feel to play for the team that he once took a hat-trick against? "It was a great moment for me (taking hat-trick for Royals). I was the top wicket-taker for the team then (15 wickets at 7.26 runs per over) but unfortunately, we could not enter the qualifiers as we lost out to Mumbai Indians on run-rate. Hopefully, I can chip in with whatever I can to help KKR reach the Qualifiers and beyond that (in IPL 2020).
"They don't have Piyush Chawla this time and hopefully I will get a few matches. It will be nice to be in the same side as such talented spinners like Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine," he said.
Tambe has played 33 IPL matches for Royals and the now-defunct Gujarat Lions and has taken 28 wickets. Tambe's hat-trick victims were - Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Ryan ten Doeschate.
"I have not played in the IPL since 2016 and I was not entertaining much hopes in getting a call this time. Perhaps, KKR wanted another experienced spinner and they thought I could contribute."
At 48, how tough it is to keep himself fit? "I have always worked on my fitness and recently played the T10 match too and took a hat-trick. It's all about keeping your mind focused on the task at hand and rest will follow. I am not looking to prove a point to anyone. But I am trying to enjoy the game and looking to contribute in whatever way I can. I am thankful to KKR management," said Tambe.
Age is just a number, and Tambe has just underlined that adage.