Bangalore, Apr 14: For the first time since announcing his international cricket retirement, Rahul Dravid returns to play at his home ground M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.
Dravid will walk on to the field to lead the Rajasthan Royals against his former home team Royal Challengers Bangalore in Game 18 of IPL 5. Will the fans in the city support one of its favourite sons or root for their team RCB? We are sure, the fans will be divided.
For the first three years, since the inception of Indian Premier League, Dravid was the icon player of RCB. He was the leader of the Vijay Mallya-owned outfit for the first year. However, things did not go well for the team and Dravid had to give up RCB captaincy after one season. He was later not retained by RCB in 2010.
After his RCB's stint ended, Dravid was picked up by Royals. He was just a player last year. After Shane Warne quit, the team owners chose Dravid as captain for IPL 5. He started off well with two wins but since then has lost two games in a row.
The 39-year-old's journey as a young cricketer started at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. His first visit to the stadium was at the age of 12. From then on, this has been his second home. He has spent thousands of hours at the nets in this stadium and went on to become one of the legends of the game.
Last month, a packed hall at the stadium, witnessed Dravid say goodbye to international cricket. Tributes kept pouring in for this great batsman. The Karnataka State Cricket Association, now managed by Dravid's former team-mates Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath, bestowed him with a fitting farewell on the ground a few days back.
Even though he had quit, Dravid had to prepare for IPL. He trained at the Chinnaswamy Stadium before flying to Jaipur to join his Rajasthan team-mates.
Come Sunday, there will be few pleasantries exchanged with his friends Kumble and Venkatesh Prasad, who are part of the RCB support staff. There won't be any room for friendship as Dravid will give his 100% and will look to bring Rajasthan's campaign back on track.
As Dravid takes on his home team, he is sure to receive plenty of support. However, many will be hoping let Dravid shine with the bat and RCB win. That will be ideal for them.