“A river cuts through the rock not because of its power but because of its persistence.”
— Jim Watkins
Pravin Tambe’s cricketing journey does justice to this quote from the American television anchor. The two-decade wait is proving to be worthwhile for the veteran leggie. Tambe, who will turn 42 on October 8, is currently enjoying the best phase of his career.
The Rajasthan Royals leg-spinner is the highest wicket-taker in the Champions League T20 with 10 wickets in four matches. On Friday, Tambe dished out another memorable performance for Rajasthan Royals, claiming three wickets for 10 in four overs to stun Chennai Super Kings in the semi-final at Jaipur. Tambe’s victims were Suresh Raina, S Badrinath and West Indies’ Dwayne Bravo.
His mind-boggling economy rate of less than four in the tournament and the fact that Tambe is yet to be hit for a six in the 15 overs he has bowled so far is even more stunning. Tambe’s family is slowly getting accustomed to the hype created over his age.
“Now that the newspapers and news channels keep mentioning his age, we realised that he is 41,” Tambe’s mother Jyoti quipped during an interaction at their Mulund residence on Saturday. Tambe’s kids — 13-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter — are also awestruck seeing their father dive around on the field.
The family is overjoyed. “We could not control our emotions on Friday night. There was a festive atmosphere at our house. Everyone was elated and it is difficult to describe our feelings,” said his elder brother Prashant.
“It was my 13-year-old daughter’s birthday on Friday as well. Pravin had asked her what she wanted. She told him to get a Man of the Match and amazingly, he did that,” added Prashant.
Tambe’s overnight stardom is a result of consistent hard work on the local circuit from 1996. His enthusiasm never waned despite being ignored and overlooked repeatedly for a higher level of cricket in Mumbai.
Prashant said there was never a day when Tambe, who plays for his employers DY Patil Sports Academy on the local circuit, got bored of cricket: “He never got bored or frustrated. He derives utmost joy when he is on the field. That kept him going. We are glad he is reaping the rewards of the hard work he has put in all these years.”
His father Vijay, however, rues the late recognition for his son’s talent. “He should have been noticed earlier, but, better late than never,” he said. Prashant said the family always backed him. “He started playing in college and I knew he was good. My parents never stopped him from playing. He would carry books for matches and would study during breaks for his graduation examination,” said Prashant.
Tambe’s mother elaborated on the family’s unconditional support: “Even when he was being ignored, we stood by him because his happiness was cricket. Of course, there were some very tough times and we would get disappointed (when he was not picked), but that did not affect our support for him,” she said.
An elated Tambe household is sure to erupt in joy if Rajasthan Royals clinch the Champions League trophy today. Perhaps, it would provide more reason to his family members to celebrate his 42nd birthday in grand style on Tuesday.