T20 World Cup: Sea of love for the champions as a billion dreams come home | Cricket News

Fans wait over 4 hours for homecoming World Cup heroes
The sea looked bluer on the reclaimed-land side on Thursday evening. After their delayed departure from Barbados due to a hurricane, Rohit Sharma‘s T20 World Cup winning Team India returned home to a different kind of storm with cricket-crazy Mumbaikars filling the stretch from Nariman Point to Wankhede stadium and making the open top bus carrying India’s cricket heroes happily, gently and proudly cut through the surging sea of admirers, each eager for a glimpse of the champions.
Hours before the team even landed in Mumbai from Delhi well past 5pm, after having met PM Modi in the morning on touching down in the national capital, tens of thousands of cricket fans had flooded the route from the NCPA gates ignoring the showers, winding their way towards Wankhede which had been thrown open for a late-evening felicitation.
Some climbed trees, some tore through barricades, and everyone clicked away furiously on their cell phones as the team finally made its grand appearance atop a blue bus. Captain Rohit Sharma, flanked by Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, and other teammates, held the trophy high, waving to the delirious masses. The air was electric with chants of ‘Mumbaicha Raja, Rohit Sharma’ and ‘Boom Boom Bumrah’. As the parade inched forward, the frenzy left behind a scattering of shoes in its wake, evidence of the near-stampede excitement of the moment.
After the bus reached Wankhede, the team did a lap of honour amid resounding applause, with Rohit dedicating the T20 WC title “to the entire nation”.
BCCI office-bearers felicitated the team and presented it with a cheque of Rs 125 crore. “The huge turnout of fans shows they were as desperate for this T20 World Cup title as we were,” said Rohit.
“I am going to miss this love. What I saw on streets tonight, I won’t forget it,” said outgoing coach Rahul Dravid.
So jubilant were the crowds from late afternoon that nothing mattered to them except the excitement and anticipation of the team’s parade though they found themselves, for quite some time, at the mercy of nature’s whims. First, the sun baked them to a crisp. Then the skies opened up. Yet everyone stood patiently for over four hours and soaked it all in as part of the celebration, with intermittent roars of “India! India!” at full pelt.


‘We are ready to take a bullet for our Men in Blue’
A gang of 20 friends, all clad in their own version of a Team India jersey, made the long journey from the western suburbs of Kandivli to the city’s southernmost tip. As the train doors opened, they poured out onto the platform, waving the tricolour, blaring vuvuzelas and taking turns to chant the names of each one of their cricketing heroes.
Among them was Rajendra Damle, 20, who tried to capture the emotion of the moment. “It’s hard to explain the feeling. It’s just pure joy,” he said, his eyes sparkling. “They’ve won, but it feels like we’ve won. We’re a part of this and want to celebrate with them.”
Beside him, Kreena Vaghel, 18, nodded enthusiastically. “It’s also our chance to show them how much we respect and adore them,” she added. Together, they joined the throngs along Marine Drive, ready to celebrate their heroes’ victory as if it were their own.
High schoolers Aditya, Agastya, Sanchay, and Jainit made the trek from Goregaon to join the crowd. “Surya Kumar Yadav’s catch was one of the best moments in the final,” they chorused, still buzzing with the thrill of the win.
“This victory has been healing for us after the November 2019 ODI World Cup final loss against Australia. We had to cheer for our men in blue.” Agastya could barely contain his enthusiasm. “Excited to see Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, we’ll be trailing them from NCPA to Wankhede. Rain or sun doesn’t matter. We’re ready to take a bullet for our men in blue.”
Meenal Shah from Ghatkopar stood proudly amidst the crowd, holding up a picture collage featuring Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid. The poster read: “End of an Era: India won, but lost these diamonds… Please don’t go.” It was a heartfelt plea that captured the sentiment of many, amid the celebratory atmosphere of the parade. “I made this poster because I feel so emotionally attached,” she explained. “I can’t bear the thought of their retirement from international T20s and India playing without them.”
Meanwhile, N B Chittalwala from Mumbra, Thane, busy scouting for a good vantage point for his wife and two daughters, 13 and 4, reminisced, “In 1983, my father took me to the airport to see the World Cup-winning team. Later, I was part of Dhoni’s 2007 T20 winning parade, too. Now it’s my turn to give my daughters the same experience.”
Amid all the ‘Rohit,’ ‘Dhoni’ and ‘Virat’ t-shirt-sporting fans, Pradeep Gond from Kandivli took his fandom to the next level. His t-shirt read ‘Akaay’ on the back-the name of Virat Kohli’s son. “That’s also my one-month old son’s name,” Pradeep said. “I named him after what Virat named his son because I’m his biggest fan,” he added.

Team India Final

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