Cricket

Rahul Dravid back at his beloved KSCA

T20 FOOTBALL! RCB'S Abhimanyu Mithun and Luke Pomersbach during a practice session at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

T20 FOOTBALL! RCB'S Abhimanyu Mithun and Luke Pomersbach during a practice session at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.  

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Those with a memory for these things will recollect that Rahul Dravid's last competitive appearance at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium came in India's Border-Gavaskar Trophy triumph over Australia a year-and-a-half ago.

Chasing a potentially tricky 207 to win the second Test in Bangalore, India made it home with no great discomfort on the fifth afternoon, Dravid finishing unbeaten on 21.

Considering that there wasn't another Test scheduled at the venue for some time, the likelihood that that was going to be his final innings for India on his home ground was high. But it wasn't entirely beyond doubt either. Any emotional farewells, therefore, would have been premature. As it turned out, though, the crowds never got their chance.

But on Sunday evening, a month after his international retirement, Dravid will take the field again at his beloved KSCA, leading Rajasthan Royals out against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

The corresponding fixture last season was rained off; if fans had hoped for a glimpse of Dravid, the only one they got of him was not on the pitch but on a sodden outfield, in earnest discussion with Shane Warne and Daniel Vettori. This time, though, there has been nothing but unforgiving sunshine in the days leading up to the tie.

After winning their opening two matches, Dravid's men have stuttered, losing two on the bounce. The defeat to Mumbai Indians would have hurt for Rajasthan had stayed on course till Owais Shah's dismissal in the 15th over. Shah was devastatingly effective that night and will be critical to his side's fortunes again.

If Rajasthan's games have borne out one thing, it is that one of Shah, Ajinkya Rahane or Brad Hodge (should he feature) needs to score heavily if their side is to post meaningful scores in the competition. That didn't happen at Kolkata on Friday, and Rajasthan could only muster 131.

The Trinidadian Kevon Cooper was hugely impressive in the first two fixtures but sat the recent one out due to a swollen knee. His presence was still a doubt, Dravid said on Saturday. His all-round capabilities will be missed, should he not play. RCB, meanwhile, will be smarting after the nature of the defeat at Chennai. The team struggled to find a fifth player who could bowl four overs, with the decision to hand Raju Bhatkal his first start of the season proving costly.

Changes likely

With S. Arvind and Dirk Nannes available, it is likely the home side will make a change or two. RCB will, however, have been heartened by Chris Gayle's form. If he finds success, other considerations will go out the window.

A sizeable Sunday crowd is expected at the stadium. While the contest alone may be invigorating enough to draw spectators, some will doubtless be there for Dravid.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 4:21:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/rahul-dravid-back-at-his-beloved-ksca/article3315451.ece

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