"Heart of hearts, I thought I'll be playing for Chennai Super Kings from the very first year. It's been 10 years and it has never happened,” shrugs Dinesh Karthik. “I was born and brought up in the city and would have loved to play for the Chennai team.”
But this dream will have to wait. When Karthik landed in his hometown Chennai on April 9, he hadn’t come to play for the home side; he was coming as the captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders team which is set to lock horns with CSK on Tuesday.
Born and raised in Chennai, Dinesh Karthik has been a prolific performer for Tamil Nadu and has recently made an impression on the big stage as well. This has led to the former Tamil Nadu captain becoming a fan favourite.
Dinesh Karthik won new-found fame after his sensational last-ball six against Bangladesh to clinch the Nidahas Trophy in March, which is still fresh in our minds.
The Chennai boy made his Ranji debut in 2002 and has played over 100 matches for his state. He has captained the side in many successful outings. He has scored over 9,000 runs in domestic cricket and is still going strong.
Karthik has stated on numerous occasions that it is one of his dreams to play for his beloved Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. But the overarching presence of MS Dhoni in the team has never afforded Karthik the opportunity to represent his home franchise in the tournament.
Today, he returns to his hometown, but this time as part of the opposition team. Karthik was recently named captain of his Kolkata Knight Riders franchise, who are travelling to Chennai for their second game of the tournament after a successful opening match where they were impressive against Bangalore.
It’s safe to say that Karthik will be striving to spoil the party for the local fans in what will be Chennai’s first home game since their two-year ban.
Fans of CSK, as well as of 32-year-old Karthik will be hoping that someday, he would get to represent his home franchise and receive the undying support that the Chennai fans so religiously produce.
Both CSK and KKR are two of the most successful teams in IPL history. The two teams have won the prestigious tournament on four occasions between them, having split the titles at two apiece. Only the Mumbai Indians have won more titles, triumphing on three occasions. Tonight, the two heavyweights are set to rekindle their rivalry in Chennai.
Both teams had an excellent start to the tournament and won their respective opening games. The Super Kings won their opening match that went down to the wire and eventually edged out the Mumbai Indians with just one ball to spare. The star of the match was undoubtedly Dwayne Bravo, who ended up with 68 runs of just 30 balls in an innings that included seven sixes.
The Knight Riders had a much more routine victory to start their campaign. Set a stiff target of 177, captain Dinesh Karthik scored an unbeaten 35 and along with Nitish Rana who scored 34, guided Kolkata to a win.