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It's a rarity for a player over 40 to continue playing the game at a high level. It's even rarer when you actually get to realise your dream of playing in an IPL encounter, against arguably the best team in the competition. Pravin Tambe, 41-year-old leg spinner, has never played for his state side, but had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of cricket's biggest names when his Rajasthan Royals took on Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede. When asked about his experience thus far, he told IPLT20.com: "It is a dream come true! I have played plenty of matches here but, since I got to play an IPL game here, I am very happy. I have played club cricket here, so I knew a bit about the ground. However, playing in the IPL is something else." When asked what motivated him to keep playing, Tambe was candid in his response, "Love and passion! I have a lot of passion for cricket and I have got a lot of support from home - from my parents, siblings, wife and even kids. That is why I still enjoy playing cricket so much."
Such experiences prepare you for the tough days to come - Pandey
Manish Pandey hit the headlines in 2009, when he became the first Indian batsman to score a century in the IPL. He was then seen as an attacking batsman who could potentially don Indian colours. However, the innings appears to have been a flash in the pan as he has largely struggled to replicate his past exploits. This season has not been one of his more prolific, but Pandey believes he can overcome such challenges. "It is a little difficult mentally, but these are challenges that you have to get through," he told IPLT20.com. "I had to keep my calm and work really hard off the field and in the nets, which I did day in and day out." He has also taken a philosophical approach to coming down from the high of that famous century, "I had to come up by being hard on myself, since taking it easy would not have helped. I had to fight back and things went well for me. Such experiences prepare you for the tough days to come. They count a lot and make you stronger."
Having play-offs away from home is a disadvantage - Fleming
In an interview with the Indian Express, Stephen Fleming, coach of Chennai Super Kings, has expressed his dismay at playing playoff games away from home. "In Kolkata, we have done pretty well. Probably playing in Delhi and not in Chennai is a disadvantage to us, but you got to think positively about such things," Fleming said.
When probed about whether the spinners would have an impact on such surfaces, Fleming backed Super Kings' captain MS Dhoni to deliver the goods. "Compared to teams that have dominated at home, we have played well in away matches if you look at our success rate. MS (Dhoni) has been doing a great job in picking the team for conditions in venues." For now his sights are set on getting into the top two, so they can get two chances at making the final as opposed to one if they placed anywhere below that.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.