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Prajakta Pawar in Jaipur

I hope to take Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket: Tambe

After foxing CSK, RR leggie has his sights set on the Little Master

With 10 wickets from four matches, one of the senior-most – when it comes to age – players in the Rajasthan Royals’ squad, Pravin Tambe, has been instrumental in the team’s fortunes. In fact, the 41-year-old is currently the leading wicket-taker in the Karbonn Smart Champions League Twenty20 2013.

After taking the key wickets of S Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo and Suresh Raina and posing a few questions to the dangerous MS Dhoni in the semi-final, the leg-spinner is hoping to claim the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar in the final if the Mumbai Indians make it to the title clash on October 6.

A few days shy of his 42nd birthday, Tambe has made his presence felt while playing for RR by delivering when required. While speaking to clt20.com after his match-winning performance of 4-0-10-3, he spoke about his dream to bowl to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar and about his own performance thus far. 

Excerpts from his interview:

Congratulations on making it to the final. Who would you prefer to play then – Mumbai Indians or Trinidad & Tobago?

We have not thought about that. We believe that we can win and we will play the final with the same belief.

You might get a chance to bowl to Sachin Tendulkar, and that too in a final, if MI qualifies

Everyone dreams of bowling to the Master. And it is my wish to take his wicket; now let’s see what happens.

How did you prepare to bowl at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium where the pitch has been known for it’s pace?

This is our home turf so we all know this wicket. And I knew that spin won’t get help, the ball won’t turn, so we have to keep bowling in the areas, which are difficult to hit. And I was trying to keep it tight that is why I was getting wickets.

So what was the right area in this situation?

You should not let the batsman swing the bat. If the batsman gets to swing the bat, then definitely in this format you will be hit for fours and sixes. So keep varying the length and keep confusing them. You read the wicket and keep hitting those areas where one can’t hit; sometimes at a slow pace, sometimes a little fast. That is what I have been doing and that is what I will keep doing.

CSK have players like Michael Hussey, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina who play spin very well. What line and length were you planning for them?

I didn’t do anything different. I wanted to stick to my basics and I wasn’t rating the batsmen as a big player or anything. I was bowling to my strengths and that helped me today.

I was reading the batsman, what he was expecting and varying my pace accordingly.

Did you feel you were 20 runs short?

We didn’t feel any such thing. We believe in each other. All the matches that we have won, they are not due to an individual performance; it has been a team performance. And that is what we have been doing. Today the batting went well, Ajinkya Rahane batted very well and the bowlers bowled well in spells and that is the reason we were successful.

Given the depth in CSK’s batting, what was the bowling strategy of RR?

All teams plan. And taking wickets was important because they are a champion team. And if you build pressure from the beginning, then any team will find it a little difficult while chasing. And because we maintained the pressure from the beginning, we could win the game.

What was the plan for Suresh Raina, who is capable of turning a match on its head?

It is good to get his wicket. We wanted to keep him at the non-striker’s end, give him a single and then take wickets at the other end. That happened and it built pressure and he tried to hit me and got out.

You asked a few questions of MS Dhoni while bowling to him as well

Dhoni never comes under any pressure in any situation. He is Mr. Cool. He plays his game no matter what the situation is.

How important is it to have runs on the board?

Having runs on the board is important, but I feel that chasing is always difficult. If you get good wickets or if there is one good over bowled, you can come back into the game. And we believed that we could come back into the game anytime and we had that faith, always.

What would you consider your stock delivery?

I like the flipper a lot.

You also bowl the googly well?

Yes I bowl the googly, but since the wicket was not so conducive, I was bowling the flipper and the slider well.

How much would you relish bowling at the Feroz Shah Kotla?

I never see the wicket and bowl. Whether the wicket is turning or it is flat, I bowl to my strengths. I focus and practice where I have to bowl.

How do you keep yourself going?

I love this game so much that I haven’t thought of anything else. All I want to do is keep playing cricket and that’s what I am going to keep doing. I have received a lot of support from this team. Everyone, the coach (Paddy Upton), Monty Desai, Zubin Bharucha, Rahul Bhai (Dravid), has been very supportive. They keep telling me that bowl well and you will do well.

How different is it to bowl in T20s?

You have to try and ensure that you don’t get hit for fours or sixes and if you do that well, then you will keep getting wickets as well.

How do intend to prepare for the final?

We will do what we have been doing and not try to do anything different in the final. And we will win it. 

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