Frenzied welcome home for under-19 cricket world champs

March 4th, 2008 - 9:53 pm ICT by admin  


Bangalore, March 4 (IANS) The victorious World Cup Indian under-19 cricket team was given a rousing reception by hundreds of cheering and tri-colour waving fans at the airport and along the 10-km journey of the young heroes from the airport to the Chinnaswamy stadium here Tuesday. Shouts of ‘Chak diya India’, ‘World champs Zindabad’ and ‘Welcome home, heroes’ greeted the players at the airport.

The team led by Virat Kohli defeated South Africa in the World Cup under-19 finals at Kuala Lumpur Sunday.

Board of Control for Cricket in India Chairman and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, former test cricketer and secretary of Karnataka cricket body Brijesh Patel, liquor baron Vijay Mallya who owns the Bangalore team for Indian Premier League (IPL) and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah received the team at the airport.

The team flew in to Bangalore in a chartered aircraft of Kingfisher airlines.

A group of young women dressed in pink sarees sang patriotic songs and firecrackers were burst as the team members got into an open bus, bedecked with flowers and saffron, white and green coloured balloons for the 10-km journey to the Chinnaswamy stadium for a reception. The procession took over 90 minutes to reach the stadium.

The bus was decorated with huge pictures of the team celebrating the victory at Kuala Lumpur.

The players carried the national flag and waved to the hundreds of people along the route. Several fans captured the moment on their cell phones.

A number of fans at the airport carried garlands but had to be content with throwing them at the bus as they could not get through the police cordon to meet the players.

A group of girl cheerleaders in an open van led the procession. Behind them were about 100 young men on their two-wheelers. Many of them wore the India colours and carried huge national flags that fluttered in the strong evening breeze. A motorcade followed the bus.

Only the team members, coach Dav Whatmore and officials who accompanied the team to Kuala Lumpur were on the bus. Each team member took turn to wave the trophy they brought back to India for the second time after a gap of eight years.

At the Chinnaswamy stadium, a huge dais was put up for the reception attended by Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur, Pawar, Patel, Mallya, Abdullah and several former cricketers like Syed Kirmani and present players like Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid.

Each of the team members was presented a cheque for Rs.1.5 million by Pawar for bringing back the cup.

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