For Pravin Tambe, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is the only time of the year to showcase his talent on the big stage. After Rajasthan Royals were suspended from the IPL, the veteran spinner has found a new lease of life with Gujarat Lions.
He was brilliant in the two games he featured in, playing a decisive role in wins over Rising Pune Supergiants and Mumbai Indians. His wickets included that of Pune’s Ajinkya Rahane and Kevin Pietersen, and Parthiv Patel and Kieron Pollard of Mumbai. The four wickets have come at an economy rate of 7.5.
The Mumbai-based bowler said it’s about variations and out-thinking the batsmen in the shorter format. “If you vary your length and pace then spinners will survive in this tournament. Even pace bowlers are trying to bowl slower ones, or slow bouncers. It really helps if you bowl slower, if you mix it up, to contain the batsmen.”
Tambe will turn 45 this year. He said age didn’t matter for players like him and Aussie spinner Brad Hogg (45). “It is just a number for me and I think that’s what Hogg also thinks. We are enjoying the game. The main thing is if you are enjoying, then you will keep playing.
“It has been a good journey. I have teammates from Rajasthan Royals who are here as well. As professionals, we gel very well,” said Tambe.
Before the tournament, many had doubts about the team composition, especially the bowling unit. However, after three wins on the trot, bowling seems to be their strong suit.
The Lions have four bowlers with more than 50 wickets in the IPL - Praveen Kumar, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner and Ravindra Jadeja. With Dale Steyn also in the dugout, it is a formidable bowling unit.
“We have a variety which includes two leg spinners who bowl differently, two left-arm spinners and a couple of fast bowlers who can mix up deliveries well. We have good bench strength too.”
Asked whom to watch out for this season, Tambe laughed: “You only have to watch out for Gujarat Lions. This time all the teams are equal. On any given day, anybody can beat anybody.”