Bengaluru: Rahul Dravid is an old boy of St. Joseph’s Boys High School, and he was back at school on Saturday, to inaugurate the Loyola Sports Complex, a Rs.16-crore facility that houses a swimming pool, a table tennis hall, indoor cricket pitches, a basketball court, snooker tables, and other activity rooms.
“In my cricketing career, I’ve been asked to do various things on various occasions to fill in for people. I’ve been asked to open the batting, keep wicket and even captain the team at times. But I’ve never been asked to actually replace the Chief Minister of Karnataka to do anything,” Dravid said to loud applause. The CM was scheduled to be a part of the event, but could not make it. But Dravid was not alone. He was accompanied by a number of old students with many achievements to their name – Sandeep Somesh (hockey), Trishul Chinnappa (golf), Anup Sridhar (badminton), Hakimuddin Habibullah (swimming), Austin Almeida (basketball), and M. Arvind (swimming).
“When I was here 25–26 years ago, we had to go all the way to Webb’s ground after school to practise for the cricket tournaments,” Mr. Dravid said. “Today, with a beautiful new facility, the boys will just have to climb a few steps to walk up to the indoor cricket centre to practise,” he said. “So many of my friendships were actually built and nurtured on this very ground 26 years ago,” he said. “Those bonds exist to this day because we played sport together.”
He added, “You always follow how your school does in sporting events — it never leaves you. Even today, when I wake up and look at the sports pages of the newspapers, I look for St. Joseph’s — be it the hockey team playing the Centenary Shield and the Fr. Eric Vaz Shield, or the cricket team playing the Cottonian Shield and the KSCA tournaments. It brings back some great memories. It brings back the memory of me playing hockey on this field with Sandeep Somesh and Anil Adrin. Watching Sandeep and Anil play hockey made me realise that taking up another sport was probably better.”
R. Roshan Baig, Minister for Infrastructure Development, and N.A. Haris, Shantinagar MLA also graced the occasion