It is a popular belief that T20 is a format for youngsters. The pace of the game, the limited time and opportunity it gives to shift the momentum on your side, all requires you to be at the pinnacle of your fitness, speed and accuracy – attributes usually expected from youngsters.
However, there are exceptions to every rule, so here we list down 5 veterans who defied their age and at times even outperformed the youngsters to rubbish the claim that T20 and IPL is a platform only meant for younger players.
1. Pravin Tambe
Pravin Tambe's story is a perfect example of what the IPL stands for – 'Yatra Pratibha Avsara Prapnothini' the words engraved on the prestigious IPL trophy that means 'Where Talent Meets Opportunity.' The world was taken by surprise in 2013 when Rajasthan Royals included Tambe, a 41 year old leg spinner from Mumbai in their playing 11. Having made his debut under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, he was quick to impress everyone with his consistency and disciplined bowling. In 2014, he took a hattrick against Kolkata Knight Riders in Ahmedabad which handed him the man of the match award. In his 33 match IPL career he took 28 wickets with an impressive economy of 7.75.
2. Shane Warne
Unarguably one of the greatest players to have ever played the game, Shane Keith Warne, the legendary spinner from Australia was 38 when he lifted the underdogs Rajasthan Royals to the inaugural title win at the 2008 IPL finale against a star studded Chennai Super Kings team. In his 55 matches during four seasons, he took 56 wickets with an economy of 7.27 which also included 4 player of the match performances. In a format that was completely new and unorthodox, the old war horse had a good captaincy record of 31 wins in 55 games.
3. Matthew Hayden
The Gentle Giant from Australia, Hayden did what he was best known for – destruction at the top with the bat. Featuring in 32 games for MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings, he took his side to a solid start with his powerful strokes and played a major role in many wins for the team. The left hander scored 1,107 runs with an impressive average of 36.90 smashing 121 fours and 44 sixes. Hayden pulled up man of the match performances four times in his IPL career and earned the Orange Cap in the 2009 season for scoring 572 runs at the age of 37!
4. Adam Gilchrist
Regarded as the finest wicket keeper batsman of all time, Gilchrist will always be remembered for his memorable stint at the IPL which included leading the Deccan Chargers to the title victory in 2009, as the Captain and 2nd highest run scorer with 495 runs at the age of 37. Playing for Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab, the southpaw smashed 2,069 runs in 80 innings that included 2 centuries and 11 half centuries. The dashing wicket keeper also had 51 catches and 16 stumpings to his name and was named as player of the match for 7 times.
5. Imran Tahir
The leg spinner from South Africa, popularly known for his ritualistic sprint after grabbing a wicket, made his IPL debut in 2014. After 2 seasons with Delhi Daredevils and Rising Pune Supergiants, the spinner finally made his mark in the 10th edition of the IPL with several match winning performances and clinching 18 wickets with the best figures of 3/18. In 58 matches so far, Tahir has taken 80 wickets with an economy of 7.83. Aging like wine, at the age of 40, he earned his purple patch or should we say the purple cap in 2019 where he took 26 wickets with a brilliant economy of 6.69!
These were some of our favourite experienced war horses that made our IPL experience all the more memorable and exciting while proving that age is just a number!