Dhoni’s dashers get rousing public felicitationMarch 6th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his daring young brigade were feted at a tumultuous public reception at the Ferozeshah Kotla Thursday afternoon for their historic first series win on Australian soil. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sharad Pawar handed the players individual cheques for Rs 5.8 million each as an appreciation of their marvellous performance. Also rewarded were the eight members of the support staff, who received Rs. one million each, as over 30,000 cheering fans turned up at the Kotla to have a glimpse of the heroes.
“We are proud of our cricketers. Also, Virat Kohli’s under-19 team made us proud by winning the World Cup (in Kuala Lumpur Sunday),” said Pawar at the function that started more than hour late after its scheduled 3 p.m.
Even as he hailed their fantastic performance down under, the BCCI chief struck a note of caution reminding the hordes of cricket fans who thronged both the airport and then the hotel that they should treat it as a sporting event where victory and defeat are part of the game.
The weary team, which had a long haul from Brisbane to Singapore from where they took a flight to Mumbai, before getting onto a chartered flight to the national capital.
Before winning the Commonwealth Bank tri-series, the Indians had narrowly lost the Test series 1-2.
The Board, as well as the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) officials, received the team at the Indira Gandhi International Airport as fans with drums and cymbals waved placards and tricolour lustily cheered the heroes who drove into the city in a colourful flower-bedecked bus.
The players, who have often had to take a backseat to the Board officials, were this afternoon given the pride of place. The BCCI had received a lot of flak for pushing the players of the Twenty20 World Championship winning team to the back row in Mumbai in September and something similar happened when the there was another felicitation for the World Cup winning under-19 team in Bangalore earlier this week.
Also present at the function were Lt. Governor Tejendra Khanna, Delhi Mayor Aarti Mehra, BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla, and Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) president Arun Jaitley and other officials on the overcrowded dais.
Jaitley said it was a momentous occasion for the venue. “We are celebrating 75th year of Kotla this year and with this felicitation ceremony being organised, it can’t get better,” Jaitley said.
DDCA also gave another Rs. 2,50,000 to its own players Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma, and the two members of victorious Under-19 team, Virat Kohli and Pradeep Sangwan.
The faces of the players said it all. They looked relieved to be back home - some of them after three months - at the end of the combustive tour, which will be remembered as much for the off-field fracas between the two teams as much as outstanding cricket the team played on field.
The tired cricketers were to be brought to the Kotla in an open bus from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, 20 km away from the venue, but it was dropped, considering the players’ tiredness and also the security reasons in view of Shivratri. They were instead taken to a five-star hotel near Connaught Place shopping complex from where they were brought to the stadium for the felicitation ceremony.
On cancelling the open bus ride, Shukla said it was felt the players would be tired after changing two flights to reach Delhi and would be eager to get back home.
Proposing a vote of thanks, DDCA secretary-general S.P. Bansal said DDCA was grateful to the BCCI for holding the function at the Kotla. He said the ground would like to organise many more similar functions in future too.
The senior team’s next assignment is a three-match home Test series against South Africa starting this month.
Tags: australian soil, board officials, chartered flight, commonwealth bank, cricket fans, cymbals, ddca, district cricket association, india bcci, indira gandhi, indira gandhi international airport, kotla, mahendra singh dhoni, pride of place, public reception, sharad pawar, test series, tri series, victory and defeat, winning team