India's T20 heroes back home

2007-09-26 09:49

Mumbai - Police battled to contain surging crowds wildly celebrating the return home on Wednesday of the Indian team after lifting the inaugural Twenty20 world title against Pakistan.

Thousands braved monsoon rain to greet the cricketers off a flight from South Africa which landed in the western city of Mumbai on Wednesday morning.

Private security guards were also drafted in to cope with the crush as new captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni led his side out of Chhattrapati Shivaji International Airport to huge cheers.

Many children joined the throng, dancing to drum beats as the team boarded an open-top bus which inched its way through a sea of supporters waving Indian flags and pictures of Dhoni.

With players taking turns to hold aloft the trophy, the bus set off on a 30-km drive to south Mumbai's seafront Wankhede cricket stadium for a giant welcome home party.

Fans lit firecrackers, sang songs - "Chak de India" or "Come on India" from a Bollywood hit movie on women's hockey - and waved placards as the exuberant players danced and hugged each other.

Thrilling final

Policemen joined in the celebrations as rose and marigold petals were thrown in the air.

India, restricted to 157-5 with the bat, fought back to bowl out Pakistan for 152 in a thrilling final on Monday in Johannesburg.

"These kids have proved themselves, they have the capacity to take us to greater heights," former chief selector Kiran More told reporters.

Ashwin Deshpande, a bank manager in Mumbai said India needed the victory. "Despite being a cricket crazy country, we had not won anything substantial for over two decades," he said.

"We can now say, the boys have delivered, even though this is baseball-type cricket."

Mumbai resident Ivan told Times Now news channel that the city had never witnessed celebrations of this scale before.

'Celebrates in style'

"People in this city, usually focused on making money, are stopping to acknowledge the team. It's amazing," he said.

India media reported that the team had partied through the night in South Africa.

"We just went crazy," star fast bowler Irfan Pathan said. "Unlike other Indian teams this team celebrates in style."

Skipper Dhoni however was keen to temper the celebrations.

"Just live in the present, keep your feet on the ground, enjoy your success but don't get carried away," he told his teammates.

The surprise win by India, who were widely criticised at home earlier this year after being knocked out of the 50-overs World Cup tournament at the first stage, prompted the government and others to rain gifts on the players.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel announced free round-the-world air tickets for players and their families.

The private Sahara India trading group gave each player a new house, while the Board of Cricket Control in India promised huge rewards for the team and support staff.

Among the bigger prizes was a Porsche car for all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who hit six sixes in one over.


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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