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IPL 2014: Rahul Dravid, Paddy Upton have helped the players gel in Rajasthan Royals’ camp, says Pravin Tambe

Pravin Tambe is set to reprise his role as the lead spinner of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) © PTI
Pravin Tambe is set to reprise his role as the lead spinner of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) © PTI

Apr 14, 2014

Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) veteran cricketer Pravin Tambe reveals that the reason behind the impressive performances by the Indian Permier League (IPL) side is also due to the relaxed environment created by Rahul Dravid and Paddy Upton. Rajasthan, who bowed out of the IPL 2013 tournament after the Eliminator, are all set for a fresh beginning in IPL 7 under the leadership of Shane Watson. Dravid will be mentoring the side in the tournament that starts on April 16 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Tambe explained in an interview with iplt20.com. He said, “RR has always played as a family. Now that there are few of us there, we will definitely enjoy more. The bonding is such that you don’t feel the difference whether it is your first year or second…The way Paddy Upton and Rahul Dravid speak, you can feel that there are no seniors or juniors. And so you see performances in the team. Sometimes it is a youngster or an older player who performs. Everyone is treated equally.”

Tambe spoke about his time with the Rajasthan Royals (RR) team. He says, “When a team uses the ‘Right to Match’ card for you, that means something. I feel good that they used the card for me and that has given me a lot of confidence. They have shown a lot of faith in me and I will be giving my best shot for them.” He continued, “In this team, all they tell you to do is express yourself. There is no pressure and that helps. They tell you to do what you know to do, and don’t try to do something different. It’s not like you have to do this or that. They never burden you with anything.”

The recent success of fellow leg-spinners Amit Mishra, Devendra Bishoo and Karn Sharma show that the adage that a leg-spinner is always a wicket-taking option seems very true in the current scenario. However, Tambe reveals that his strategy is not of trying to take wickets, but to contain the batsmen.

“In T20, I have never thought about getting wickets. I only concentrate on stemming the flow of runs, and the wickets follow. Even if I don’t get wickets, I am saving runs for my team. My main aim is to cramp the batsman and not let him get runs. And I know that if I am able to do that, then I will get wickets,” he said.

As far as IPL success stories go, there are very few more rousing than 42-year-old Tambe’s. From being an uncapped domestic player playing his first ever IPL match at the age of 41, to becoming one of the most successful bowlers of the 2013 Champions League T20 (CLT20) that same year, Tambe has seen it all.

Curiously enough, not only was Tambe not always a cricketer, he wasn’t even a leg-spinner. He says, “I was a fast bowler earlier and bowled with the new ball for Orient Shipping. One day my captain asked me if I will bowl spin. He knew I used to bowl spin with the tennis ball, and so he asked me if I will bowl leg-spin for that particular match. I did, and I got three wickets and we won the match. Since then, I decided to bowl leg-spin. It’s been about 13-15 years since I started bowling leg-spin.”

“I have just kept playing… I have been practicing the way I have always been doing all these years. There is no change in that. The only thing is that my confidence has definitely increased,” says Tambe on what has changed over the past year.

Tambe went on to talk about the changes he has made to his bowling. He states, “We watch videos these days so everyone is aware of everything. I have made a few changes in my deliveries because you need to do something new, otherwise people start reading you. I have developed two-three new deliveries, including bowling from behind the stump to vary the length of the delivery and vary the pace. It becomes a bit difficult for the batsman to judge and I have got wickets doing that in the domestic T20 league. So what I have been working on in the nets is giving results.” So which is his favourite delivery? “The flipper, which skids after pitching up,” he says.

When asked about how he has remained the same person through all his ups and downs, Tambe signs off by saying, “It is all because of my love for the game. If you love the game, then age doesn’t matter. For me age is just a number. I have been playing regularly, so that reflects in the fitness that you see.”

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