Mr Dependable's final stand
By Krithika Gopalkrishnan | ENS | Published: 06th October 2013 11:13 AM |
Blue seems to be the defining colour of Rahul Dravid’s life. The blue-eyed boy of Indian cricket started his career playing for the Men in Blue and will end it donning a different shade of the same colour − Royal(s) blue. ‘Azure’ also happens to be his favourite shade.
The Wall, Mr Reliable, Mr Dependable, Dravid has donned many a role in his 17-year-long career. His final innings would be as skipper, for he is all set to bid adieu to the sport that redefined his identity. We will witness the 40-year-old in action for the one last time when Rajasthan Royals take the field at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium for the Champions League final on Sunday.
The Bangalorean himself confirmed the news after their semifinal win over Chennai Super Kings on Friday. “I love playing in Jaipur and it’s probably my last game here. It’s been such a fun time,” he had said. Had the final been staged in Jaipur, Royals’ home ground, it would have been a perfect setting to say adios to their ‘local’ skipper. But in the end, it is the win that matters, not the place.
And this very thought echoes uniformly in the minds of his teammates, “Let’s win for Dravid.” Rightly so. It was Dravid who brought the team together post the spot-fixing saga, inspired them to stay committed and play as a close-knit unit. He steered Royals to their maiden CLT20 appearance and is now on the brink of taking them one step further − champions!
Shane Watson said on the eve of the final that Dravid deserved a fitting farewell. “It will be a special win if we can win the tournament for him. Hopefully, the fairytale does come true for us because he certainly does deserve it,” the Australian was quoted as saying.
Pravin Tambe, who played a crucial role in steering Royals to the final, also felt the same. When asked if they would persuade Dravid to continue playing, he said, “Dravid is a great player, we cannot influence his decisions. He knows what is best for him. We just hope we win the final.”
The Rajasthan outfit are yet to be beaten in this tournament. They have won five matches on the trot but all in the familiar conditions of the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. They will set foot on Kotla for the first time in this CLT20, but given their current form, claiming the trophy seems to be a mere formality.
A win would be the perfect parting gift, and like Watson said Dravid does deserve a fairytale ending and a fitting farewell.
Hodge, Tait Out
Rajasthan received a big blow as Brad Hodge and Shaun Tait were ruled out of the final of the Champions League T20 owing to injuries. Kushal Periera and Sachin Baby have been called in as replacements.
Hodge had sustained a ligament tear on his left knee during their semifinal match against the Chennai Super Kings. During CSK’s innings, Hodge collided with teammate Watson. Watson’s head hit Hodge’s knee and he had to go off the field.
Tait, on the other hand, had suffered a lateral hamstring strain during training earlier in the tournament and was undergoing routine treatment. When he returned to the nets, Tait was unable to bowl beyond 65-70 per cent without onset of pain in the lateral hamstring. Tait will continue with his treatment and rehabilitation, making him unavailable for the summit clash.