IPL players who don't fade away with age
They say age is just a number. Yet, in sport, it is hard for even the best of sportsmen to keep believing that. As the world gets faster and stronger, age becomes a monster in the head too.
The IPL is no exception to this; there are players as young as 17 years old who are playing match-defining knocks. There is an emphasis on being quick, on being athletic and on being useful in more ways than one. No one will smile at you for a misfield near the ropes if you are above 40 years old.
Yet, there are some players who, like vintage furniture, like wine, have gotten better with age, becoming the most consistent players of their teams. Michael Hussey, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble have all made a telling contribution way after their international retirements from the shorter formats of the game; these are the players who don’t fade away with age.
Here, we take a look at three players who were already ‘senior citizens’ during their best IPL years and still managed to shine brightly for their respective teams:
Almost 46 now, Shane Warne was in his late 30s when Rajasthan Royals picked him up as the skipper of a Moneyball team that didn’t have too many stars. But Warne used his age and experience to his advantage, inspiring a bunch of nobodies to become amazing, match-winning players. It was because of his influence that some players achieved great feats in 2008, but didn’t do anything of note after that.
Rajasthan Royals won 11 out of their 14 games in the inaugural IPL season, eventually picking the trophy ahead of high profile teams like Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. But that is not all; Warne contributed immensely as a bowler too. He was second in the wicket-taking list behind his own teammate at Royals, Sohail Tanvir. Warne took 19 wickets with an economy of 7.76 at a time when spin had still not evolved enough to challenge T20 batting.
The Australian managed 14 wickets in the next season as well, while his fellow leg-spinner Anil Kumble, having retired from international cricket, picked 21 wickets for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Coincidentally, the two veterans played useful parts after reaching 40 in the IPL 2010 season, with Kumble picking 17 at 6.42 and Warne picking 11 wickets at an economy of 7.62.
43 years and 209 days old, Pravin Tambe is still an active member of the Rajasthan Royals team. Interestingly, he was picked from obscurity by the Royals’ scouts even though he had only played club cricket for most of his career. At 41, when he first appeared for Rajasthan, he hadn’t even played a high profile Ranji game.
Tambe made his name quickly enough though, topping the wicket-takers’ list in the Champions League T20 in 2013 with 12 wickets in just five innings, at an economy of 4.1 – something that was unheard of in T20 cricket. He helped Rajasthan reach the finals of that tournament where they were beaten by Mumbai Indians.
In 2014, Tambe was No. 11 on the wicket-takers’ list with 15 wickets at an impressive economy of 7.26.
Brad Hogg became the oldest player to play in the IPL when he appeared for Kolkata Knight Riders this season. The man who had left cricket to become a commentator before getting a surprise call back to the national team is still one of the fittest men in the park. More importantly, he has been a gem of a bowler for the Knight Riders, not letting Gautam Gambhir miss the talismanic Sunil Narine.
Hogg has been sensational so far this IPL, to say the least. He has played just four games but already has eight wickets to his name, including a four-wicket haul. His economy rate is 6.21 and his average is a fabulous 11. His spells of 2-17 in four overs against Sunrisers Hyderabad and 1-18 and 4-29 against Chennai Super Kings are all impressive beyond measure for any player, leave alone for the oldest man in IPL.
With his brilliant bowling that is guaranteed to remain in everyone’s memory for a long time, Hogg could well be the brand ambassador for Axe Signature’s “Don’t Fade Away” campaign!