Contemplating age and public opinion of what is considered ‘normal’, Pravin Tambe became the first Indian cricketer to mark his first international game in his 40s. Pravin Tambe’s story is not about people who give up easily, but about those who believe in the magic of a promising future.
A Die Hard Cricket fan might be well acquainted with the name of Pravin Tambe, a leg spinner who made his Ipl debut when other players tend to retire. While you might be aware of the name Pravin Tambe has made, very few know about his journey to fame.
The First Innings
Hailing from Mumbai, Tambe was born on the 8th of October 1971. He had always dreamt of being a fast bowler, but during his later years, on the advice of his captain Ajay Kadam, he became a full-time leg spinner.
He pursued cricket as a side hustle while doing a regular job in order to survive. After years of dedication and skill, switching between different cricket clubs in Mumbai, Pravin Tambe represented the Shivaji Park Gymkhana in the city’s top cricket team, before being named as the top 30 probables in the Mumbai Ranji squad in 2000 and 2002. However, he never made it to the final draft.
Pravin who started his cricketing career in 1995-96, it was a decade-long wait for him to reach a stage he always craved to achieve.
Job And Cricket In Same The Ground
Pravin Tambe maneuvered jobs to make a living while continuing to train and participate in ground cricket tournaments organized by the Mumbai Cricket Association, where corporate teams compete in four cricketing categories.
He became a member of the Times Shield unit while working for a shipping company called Orient Shipping. It was here that he began to change from a fast bowler to a leg spinner, during a crucial game.
It was also during his time here that he met the fast bowler of India and Mumbai Abey Kuruvilla, who later became the sporting director at Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Sports Academy and a selector on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
After playing in the Times Shield for a few years, Tambe encountered a roadblock when Orient Shipping closed its cricket wing due to budget constraints. He turned to gully cricket and local competitions again, even getting a job at DY Patil Sports Academy with reference to Kuruvilla, as construction manager. The institution allowed him to represent his B class and he continued to make them win accolades and matches.
The IPL Saga
While serving as a coordinator for the early years of the IPL at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, Tambe grabbed eyeballs after his performance in the invitational tournament in January 2013. His talent was recognized by Rahul Dravid and the scouts of Rajasthan Royals and he soon won a contract with the Franchise for the IPL 2013 making him the oldest player to debut for any team.
Pravin had a forgetful initial three matches in the IPL 2013 edition. He managed to come back with just one wicket in three games, however, the caliber of Pravin Tambe was yet to be seen by fans.
Pravin Tambe played a total of 13 games for Rajasthan Royals at the IPL 2014 and returned with 15 wickets with an economy of 7.26. He also took the hattrick in the 2014 season by knocking out KKR batsman Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, and Ryan ten Doeschate. Pravin was awarded as the best player for his performance. He also wore a purple cap for a short span of that season.
He played for Rajasthan royals for two more years and got picked by Gujarat lions in the subsequent edition of 2016. However, he couldn’t take part in as the team got suspended and as a result of which he was picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad,
In 2018, he announced his retirement from Indian cricket to take part in the T10 league in Abu Dhabi, as the BCCI does not allow an Indian player to participate in overseas leagues. He set a record by taking five wickets in a single match.
He withdrew from retirement when he was selected by the Kolkata Knight Riders at the 2019 auction to play in the IPL 2020. However, he was fired due to the above-mentioned BCCI rule, for playing in the Abu Dhabi T10 league last year.
”Kaun Pravin Tambe” The Film
A Biopic titled Kaun Pravin Tambe was released on the OTT platform Hotstar on 1st April 2022. Shreyas Talpade who previously portrayed the role of Iqbal in the cult film plays Tambe as himself. The film has been getting a lot of praise and is said to be one of the best sports films ever made. Kaun Pravin Tambe depicts the journey and determination of the 50-year-old.
The film focuses on his journey of 20 years playing local cricket, and his support system as he juggled his personal and professional life despite relentless disappointments.
In 2020, at the age of 48, Tambe retired and became the first Indian player to play in the Caribbean Premier League, where he represented his KKR sister, Trinbago Knight Riders. He is currently working as KKR support staff. Pravin Tambe was speechless after seeing the film with entire KKR squad.
“𝘕𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘶𝘱 𝘰𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘮𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘥𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘦” 💜— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) April 1, 2022
🎥 Scenes from last night as the boys watched the inspiring #KaunPravinTambe at a special screening by @DisneyPlusHS! @legytambe #KKRHaiTaiyaar #IPL2022 pic.twitter.com/LKjABXk1Qj
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