India’s T20 World Champion team reached Delhi, fans gave a warm welcome amidst rain

The Uncut

New Delhi: After winning the T20 World Cup, the Indian cricket team returned home on Thursday by a special plane. Amid continuous drizzle, the fans welcomed the players warmly at the airport and during this time there was heavy security so that the fans could not get close to the players.

Hundreds of fans who reached the Indira Gandhi International Airport here to catch a glimpse of the players were waving banners with various slogans and national flags, regardless of the weather. They congratulated the players. India won the title by defeating South Africa by seven runs in the final of the T20 World Cup last Saturday.

Referring to the last World Cup won in 2011, a fan said, “We have been waiting for this moment for the last 13 years. The team has made us proud by winning the World Cup.” He claimed that he has been present at the airport since around 4.30 am.

Air India’s special flight AIC24WC ‘Air India Champions 24 World Cup’ departed from Barbados at 4.50 am Indian time on Wednesday and reached Delhi at 6 am on Thursday (Indian time) after a non-stop journey of 16 hours.

The Indian cricket team could not return home immediately after winning the title due to the complete suspension of air traffic in Barbados due to hurricane ‘Beryl’. During this time the entire team stayed in their hotel. Apart from the Indian team, support staff, players’ families and some officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), some members of the Indian media who had gone to cover the tournament were also on board the plane.

Heavy security was put in place at the airport to control the crowd but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the fans. The enthusiastic fans were carrying posters of star batsman Virat Kohli, captain Rohit Sharma and outgoing head coach Rahul Dravid and raising slogans.

Two buses were parked outside the T3 terminal to take the players to the hotel. From the hotel, they will go to the Prime Minister’s residence for a welcome ceremony around 9 am. After completing the immigration formalities, the team members came out one by one or two by two.

Tired but excited, the players greeted the waiting fans with waves and warm smiles. Suryakumar Yadav, who played a key role in India’s victory by taking a brilliant catch of David Miller in the final, was the most excited to respond to the slogans.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant greeted the fans while pacer Mohammed Siraj blew flying kisses towards them. Rohit and Man of the Final Virat Kohli were among the last to exit from the VIP exit. Both of them announced their retirement from T20 Internationals after winning the title.

Rohit was holding the World Cup trophy and he raised it up to give fans a glimpse of it before boarding the bus. Kohli also gave a ‘thumbs up’ to the fans. Some fans claimed that they had been waiting outside the airport since last night in excitement to see their heroes in person.

A group of fans said, “We have been here since last night. It was very important for us to win this World Cup after losing the ODI World Cup last year.” On Saturday, India won its second T20 World Cup and ended its 11-year wait for an ICC trophy. India last won an ICC title in 2013 when it won the Champions Trophy under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

India had earlier won the World Cup titles in 1983 (ODI), 2007 (T20) and 2011 (ODI). After meeting the Prime Minister, the players will travel to Mumbai in an open bus to take part in the Vijay Parade, followed by a felicitation ceremony at the Wankhede Stadium.

BCCI secretary Jay Shah and Rohit posted on social media on Wednesday urging fans to come out in large numbers and show support for the team. This will be a special moment for the 37-year-old Rohit, who hails from Mumbai and is very popular among fans in the city.

Seventeen years ago, a similar road show was held in Mumbai when Dhoni’s men defeated arch-rivals Pakistan in the final of the inaugural World T20 in 2007 in South Africa.

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