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"Everybody had written us off"- Aditya Tare relives miraculous MI win, and more [Exclusive]

Aditya Tare celebrates after hitting a last-gasp six to send MI to the IPL 2014 playoffs.
Aditya Tare celebrates after hitting a last-gasp six to send MI to the IPL 2014 playoffs.
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 22 Mar 2021
Exclusive

Mumbai Indians (MI) fans will perhaps best remember Aditya Tare for his last-gasp six off James Faulkner in IPL 2014 to seal one of the most thrilling wins in competition history.

Seven years later, the 33-year-old has proved that he is not just a dasher of the ball. He can bat responsibly as well when required. Aditya Tare was Mumbai's saviour in the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy final against Uttar Pradesh as his sensational hundred saw his team win their fourth title in the domestic 50-over competition.

Aditya Tare on his hundred in the Vijay Hazare Trophy Final

Aditya Tare celebrates after his hundred in the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy final.
Aditya Tare celebrates after his hundred in the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy final.

In the absence of experienced players like Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer, Aditya Tare assumed added responsibility for Mumbai. The 33-year-old scored his first List A hundred, remaining unbeaten on 118 to help his side chase down a mammoth target of 313 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final.

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Aditya Tare opened up on his maiden List A hundred. He said in this regard:

"When I went into bat, I had two things in mind. Firstly, I was not going to let the tempo go down because Prithvi had set up a good platform. You are 90 odd in 9-10 overs, and I just said to myself that I'm going to be positive; I'm going to show positive intent and keep the tempo running. And at the same time, I also needed to be calm at the crease. I thought that once Prithvi was out, someone had to bat deep. So it was the combination of having aggressive intent in the mind, keeping the tempo high, and at the same time being calm."

Aditya Tare backs Prithvi Shaw to make India comeback

Aditya Tare believes a national call-up is just round the corner for the in-form Prithvi Shaw.
Aditya Tare believes a national call-up is just round the corner for the in-form Prithvi Shaw.
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Star opener Prithvi Shaw had set the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy ablaze by plundering 827 runs in eight games, doing so at a stupendous average of 165.4; the right-hander also scored four centuries, one of them being a double. The stand-in Mumbai captain's form was one of the main reasons why the team won the tournament.

Yet, the 21-year-old missed out on a spot in Team India's ODI squad for the three-match series against England. Nevertheless, Aditya Tare hailed Shaw for his sensational performances and believes that it is only a matter of time before the youngster dons the India blue again.

"After being dropped from the Test squad for the next series, Prithvi came back to the domestic arena, and he's done what he's supposed to do. Once you are dropped from the national team, you come a level down in domestic cricket and score heaps of runs to get back into the team again. He has proved he is leaps and bounds ahead of everybody else, at least in the domestic arena. I'm happy he proved the point, scored heaps of runs and helped Mumbai win the tournament. I just have a feeling that his selection in the next whatever team comes up is just around the corner. If he has a very good IPL again, the form that he is in, he will surely get back into the national team," remarked Aditya Tare.

Aditya Tare hails team for Vijay Hazare Trophy success

Aditya Tare lauded the team
Aditya Tare lauded the team's youngsters for stepping up in the absence of senior players.

Mumbai had faltered in the 2020 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, failing to reach the knockouts. There were talks about the team being overrated due to their past reputation. So Aditya Tare was extremely happy for the way his side showed character and bounced back to win the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

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"I am really happy with the way we have reacted to the results of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and that says a lot about the character of the team, characters of certain individuals. Take Dhawal Kulkarni, who was the pick of the bowlers in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. On flat pitches, he was picking up wickets with the new ball. Obviously then you had Shaw, you had Shreyas and Surya for the league phase. Shardul Thakur was there for a few games; he came and you know he put in his efforts. He especially drove down from Ahmedabad to play league phase, and you know, without asking for a break or anything, he just drove down for 12 hours, and the next day played a game for Mumbai."

Aditya Tare also talked about a few young players who did well in the absence of senior players towards the backend of the tournament. In this regard, he said:

"I am impressed with the way Tanush Kotian and Prashant Solanki; both the spinners bowled, Shams Mulani as well. Entire knockouts on flat pieces, we played with three spinners, and they did really well. Shams was given the responsibility of batting at no. 4 and he did that well. Many younger boys in the team also put their hands up and took the responsibility and did pretty well for the team."

Aditya Tare talks about his experience playing for Mumbai

Winning the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy remains Aditya Tare
Winning the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy remains Aditya Tare's most fond memory with Mumbai
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Given the insane level of competition to get into the Mumbai team, Aditya Tare is proud of performing consistently for the domestic giants for so many years. The 33-year-old feels blessed to have represented the side for such a long time. He said in this regard:

"My first season in First-class cricket, we won the Ranji Trophy in 2012-13. In that season, I scored a hundred in the semi-final against Services. So that was something I'm really proud of. My first hundred, I converted that into a double against Saurashtra that very season. In 2015-16 season, we won the championship; that was really special for me, because it was under my captaincy that we won the Ranji Trophy."
Aditya Tare has also played some crucial knocks for Mumbai, especially in testing situations.
Aditya Tare has also played some crucial knocks for Mumbai, especially in testing situations.

Aditya Tare believes his best moment in a Mumbai shirt was winning the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy under his leadership. However, he also recalled some of the gritty knocks he has played for the domestic giants under immense pressure.

"Last year, I didn't have a good first two-three games. I didn't score runs, there was a lot of doubt about me keeping my place in the team. From there, I eventually led the team and scored 150 odd when the team was 120 for five or six. Again, this hundred in the final is something I pride myself on. Two years back, we won the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy in Bangalore against Delhi when we were 40-4. From there, I and Siddhesh Lad put on a 100-run partnership. Eventually, I scored 70 and played a Man of the Match knock in that final as well," recalled Aditya Tare.

Aditya Tare relives his last-gasp six for MI in the IPL

Aditya Tare exults after sealing an incredible win for MI.
Aditya Tare exults after sealing an incredible win for MI.

Aditya Tare moved on to talk about 'that' incredible chase by Mumbai Indians (MI) in the final league game of the IPL 2014 season against Rajasthan Royals (RR). MI had lost their first five games in the UAE leg of the competition that season and were rock bottom with no points on the board.

Although they won six of the next eight-game, they still had to beat RR by a healthy margin to make it to the playoffs. The equation was simple for MI: after Rohit Sharma won the IPL toss, MI had to chase down their target in 14.3 overs to pip RR on net run rate.

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With RR scoring 189 runs, the hosts had to mount an improbable chase. But thanks to a brilliant unbeaten 95 by Corey Anderson and a few other handy contributions, MI levelled the scores after 14.3 overs. It all came down to the fourth ball of the 14th over, where a boundary or a six would seal MI's playoff spot.

Off his first ball, Aditya Tare smoked Faulkner over fine leg for a six to send his team into delirium. Recalling that memorable night, the 33-year-old provided a sneak peek of his thought process before smashing that six.

"When Ambati Rayudu got out, and the scores were level after 14.3 overs, it was really an unbelievable result at that point. We quickly realised that there was still a possibility to qualify if we scored a boundary or a six. I knew that this was a 50-50 chance, and I had to go for it. I was going to get to everything I could to put the ball beyond the boundary. So that that was the only thought going on in my mind at that time. Thankfully, I was a bit calm at the crease. I sort of read the situation well. I knew what Faulkner was trying to bowl and fortunately he couldn't land the yorker And then my shot came right off the middle of the bat and went straight into the first tier," said Aditya Tare.

Just like a football player celebrates after scoring the winner, Aditya Tare ran towards the fans in the North Stand as the jubilant MI team and support staff joined him in the middle. Explaining his unique celebration that is still remembered by many MI fans, Aditya Tare gushed:

"After that the entire season came back into my mind, where we had lost five games out of five in the UAE. We came back to India with zero points on the board, last in the table, and everybody had written us off. From there to make a run of results where we qualified for the playoffs, I thought that was a special achievement. And all I wanted to do was go and celebrate it with our fans who have always been loyal supporters irrespective of our results. So, I just thought of running towards the North Stand where I felt one of the most loyal section of Mumbai fans are always located. My emotions got the better of me, and the footballer in me came out on that day."
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I'm sure if I get an opportunity, I'll do really well: Aditya Tare on playing for MI

The arrival of wicketkeepers Ishan Kishan and De Kock significantly reduced Aditya Tare
The arrival of wicketkeepers Ishan Kishan and De Kock significantly reduced Aditya Tare's game-time.

Inconsistency coupled with the arrival of wicketkeeper-batsman like Parthiv Patel, Ishan Kishan and Quinton de Kock saw Aditya Tare drop down the pecking order for MI. The 33-year-old did reveal that it was certainly tough for him to patiently wait for his chances.

However, he is also positive that if he keeps trusting the process and puts in the hard yards, an opportunity could come his way. Aditya Tare explained how patiently waiting for his opportunity has helped him become mentally stronger.

"I was batting at the top of the order, and to be fair, I didn't score too many runs in the opportunities I got in 2014 and 2015. But still, to get just two opportunities in the T20 format is always tough. And then to sit out for the entire season was really tough for me. But I think that time has made me a really strong person. It's not easy to be sitting two-three seasons out, still be part of the team, still train as hard as you can and try and wait for an opportunity. So that really made me a stronger person. I'm sure if I get an opportunity, I'll do really well. That's the faith and confidence I have in myself as I hope I'll get an opportunity this season."

"It means a lot to be a part of the Mumbai Indians": Aditya Tare

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Aditya Tare is upbeat about his chances of representing MI once again.
Aditya Tare is upbeat about his chances of representing MI once again.

Although he might not have played as many games for MI as he would have liked to, Aditya Tare has no doubt whatsoever that playing for the franchise has taken his career to a different level.

The 33-year-old believes that the experience of playing for the five-time IPL champions has made him a better player, something that has stood him in good stead in domestic cricket as well.

It is little surprise Aditya Tare longs to wear the blue and gold of MI and is passionate about playing for the franchise again. He said in this regard:

"Yes, it means a lot to me, to be a part of Mumbai Indians. For almost ten years now, it's really helped me as a player, helped me in my domestic career. The amount of exposure I've got since the very beginning at MI, good coaches I've played under, that has helped me a lot. And it has obviously helped me get to a better level as a player".
Published 22 Mar 2021, 15:29 IST
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