Ranji Trophy 2013-14 December 2, 2013

Tambe named in Mumbai Ranji squad for first time


Pravin Tambe, the 42-year-old legspinner, has earned his maiden call-up to the Mumbai Ranji Trophy squad. He was named in their 15 for the home match against Jharkhand, scheduled for December 6 to 9.

Tambe, who had not played any top-level cricket until May this year, got his first big break when he was included in Rajasthan Royals' squad for IPL 2013. He played his first recognised Twenty20 as a 41-year-old against Delhi Daredevils, and went on to play two more games in the tournament. He is yet to play a List A or a first-class match, but really grabbed the spotlight in the Champions League T20 2013, in September-October, when he was the competition's leading wicket-taker with 12 scalps in five games at an average of 6.50.

The Mumbai selectors took into account Tambe's attitude and recent form, chief selector Deepak Jadhav told ESPNcricinfo. "We had a little bit of discussion before arriving at a consensus about Pravin," Jadhav, who was chairing his first senior selection committee after Sudhir Naik stepped down last week, said. "But the point is none of the young spinners are ready to earn the Mumbai cap. Iqbal Abdullah, who had been a part of the squad before we asked him to play the U-25 game last week, hasn't been bowling well. Had we had a deserving youngster, we would have gone for it, but barring his physical age, Pravin fits the bill in every respect.

"He has been picking tons of wickets for years and years. Not only at the club level, but he has also proven himself in T20s at the IPL and CLT20. Moreover, his attitude is as positive as any youngster. He is lively on the field and even if he isn't in the eleven, he is a great motivator in the dressing room. He is an asset to the team, so I would tell everyone not to look at his age. He is fit, he has the skills and he has the ability and desire to succeed at this level, so he deserves an opportunity."

Tambe posed problems for most batsmen in the Champions League, with his skiddy legbreaks and accuracy, and helped Royals complete a giant-killing in the semi-final by beating Chennai Super Kings. He took 3 for 10 in his four overs in that game, claiming the wickets of Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo and S Badrinath.

Mumbai are missing regular captain and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and batsman Ajinkya Rahane in this squad, with the pair being away on India duty in South Africa.

Squad: Abhishek Nayar (capt), Aditya Tare (vice-capt), Wasim Jaffer, Hiken Shah, Suryakumar Yadav, Sushant Marathe, Vishal Dabholkar, Siddhesh Lad, Javed Khan, Shardul Thakur, Akbar Khan, Kshemal Waingankar, Manish Rao, Pravin Tambe, Sagar Kerkar

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 3, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    Tambe is the best legspinner in the whole world. There will never be another Pravin Tambe.

  • Dummy4 on December 3, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    Padmakar Shivalkar played for Bombay at 48. It is gutsy for Mumbai to have selected Tambe and he deserves it fully. He should play for India t 20. Hope in longer version Tambe does well for his team

  • Sundarraman on December 3, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    Congrats Tambe! This shows his strong Perseverance and mental strength. Having said that, it is rather unfortunate to see a strong team like Mumbai doesn't have a talented spin bowler in the waiting... Managing resources is the key aspect in sports and one would hope that Indian domestic team follows it maintain the balance of the team.

  • Nirmal on December 3, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Is Mumbai lack quality spinners?

  • Naresh on December 3, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Tambe is certainly an inspiration to youngsters. Give it your best shot and recognition will come. I dont see Tambe playing at higher level (cause of age) - but maybe he could be a coach for youngsters?

  • hari on December 3, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    I am happy for Tambe. Atleast he can show to his kids that after toiling so hard in leagues he is finally in the Ranji squad. I dont think MCA should look at age as Jadhav rightly mentioned. If he can bowl well and pick wickets why not? He has shown in the CL that he can trouble batsmen with his variations. Today's batsmen are not good players of spin. That will help him get wickets and if he succeeds it is worth the try. He can play for a couple of seasons and can groom a couple of youngsters to take over from him. He can atleast qualify for a spin coach job later if he can play Ranji and T20 internationals for a couple of years. As Jadhav rightly pointed out Tambe's attitude is the most positive one and he derserves a place in the XI. Mumbai should not keep him in the reserves. Give him a couple of chances and see whether he can do it. If he succeeds he can continue otherwise you will have a reason to drop him. Anyway RR will not leave him for atleast the coming season.

  • Dummy4 on December 3, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    The selection of Tambe is Going Backwards is all I can say. It is not as if Mumbai is in a dire situation. A 40 year old cricketer makes his Ranji debut (presumably) and probably after a few years of good performance can play for India. Should be 45 by then.Except for romanticism this decision makes no sense. I am unaware why talented batting prodigies of the caliber of Sarfaraz Khan are not inducted into the Mumbai team especially since it looks like Mumbai has nearly qualified with 3 outright wins and one tie with Delhi.We all know what Sachin did at age 14 when given an opportunity.

  • James on December 3, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    Hope Tambe gets picked for the world T20 for India as well. However, I think it is time for Harmeet Singh and Sarfraz Khan to move to some other team, preferably some C group team where they will get chances to play some decent first class teams and make their presence felt.

  • N on December 3, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    This guy's story is so inspiring, they can make a movie on him!

  • Anupam on December 3, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    This is good news. Congratulations to Pravin Tambe. Really liked the reason given by the chief selector Deepak Jadhav for Pravin's selection.Hope that Pravin plays in the match and does well.

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