Champions Return

Top-most of those cherished moments will be when Rohit Sharma walked hand-in-hand with Virat Kohli to the crowd near the stands as if saying thanks on their behalf as they retire from the game’s shortest format…reports Asian Lite News

Cheered on by thousands of fans assembled inside the Wankhede Stadium and by the huge crowd that had turned the Marine Drive into a sea of people, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) felicitated the Champions as they returned home with the trophy. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, the two elder statesmen of the Indian team, articulated the feelings of players to the scores of fans across the country when they told the huge gathering how happy and proud they were feeling after bringing the trophy back home.

“This trophy is for the entire nation, along with all the players that have represented the country,” said India captain Rohit Sharma as he along with his teammates was accorded grand felicitations by a jam-packed Wankhede Stadium at a function organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday. The BCCI handed over to the team and the support staff a cheque of Rs 125 crore that it had announced as a reward for their victory.

“Since the time we have come to India, it has been wonderful. The reception we have got has been wonderful. The trophy belongs to everyone, to the players, the support staff, the BCCI officials, along with the people who have wanted us to win the World Cup, this trophy belongs to them,” said Rohit as he expressed his emotions and his teammates at the Wankhede Stadium.

The stadium was packed to the rafters since 3 pm as they waited for the team to arrive from Delhi, travel from the Mumbai airport to Nariman Point for a victory parade over an open-top bus along the Marine Drive, crawling through a sea of humanity which delayed the function by a couple of hours.

Neither the players nor the waiting crowd was bothered by the delay despite first being roasted by the afternoon sun and then soaked by a drizzle. While the crowd cheered them on, the players ran into the crowd, danced along with the supporters, cheered each other, and thanked the fans as they expressed their delight at being able to watch the demigods.

“Bringing this World Cup to the country means a lot to us. We got a solid reception, along with BCCI and my teammates, I thank the fans for their support,” said Rohit saying every World Cup triumph is different and the last three that have come during his career were each special in its own way.

“To bring the World Cup to the venue where India won the 2011 ODI World Cup is very special for us. I would not single out some particular players but all of them played their role in this victory,” said Rohit, who hailed his teammates Suryakumar Yadav, for his sensational catch off David Miller in the final at Bridgetown, Barbados, and Hardik Pandya for bowling that final over that sealed victory for India. Rohit’s praise for Hardik at the Wankhede was special considering the kind of things they had to face after the allrounder from Gujarat had replaced the local boy as captain of the IPL side Mumbai Indians.

Bumrah, once in a generation player, says Kohli

While Rohit Sharma had words of praise for Surya and Hardik, Virat Kohli, who like Rohit has announced his retirement from T20I cricket, expressed some special words for Jasprit Bumrah for how the pacer extricated the Indian team from difficult situations on several occasions during the World Cup.

He agreed that Bumrah should be declared a “national treasure” for the way he saved the team from difficult situations during the World Cup. Bumrah was declared the Player of the Tournament for his heroics and received a special round of applause from the crowd as Kohli urged them on.

“At one time I also felt that ‘man is it going to slip away again’. But what happened in those five overs, two of which were bowled by Jasprit Bumrah was truly, truly special. What I would like everyone is to applaud a guy who brought us back into games, again and again in this tournament,” said Kohli.

“We want him to continue playing for India as long as he can. He is once in a generation player,” said Kohli of Bumrah. He also made a special mention of head coach Rahul Dravid and the support staff for helping and guiding the team to triumph.

Bumrah on his part said that having his toddler son along with him at the Kensington Oval made it special for him, laughing off suggestions that he may have to encounter a petition signed by a billion people urging him not to quit the game.

While there were numerous moments for the fans to score in their memory for eternity, three would find a place in everyone’s favourite moments of the evening.

Top-most of those cherished moments will be when Rohit Sharma walked hand-in-hand with Virat Kohli to the crowd near the stands as if saying thanks on their behalf as they retire from the game’s shortest format.

The second moment that will stay forever in people’s minds will be Hardik Pandya getting cheered vociferously at the same ground where Mumbaikars booed him as captain of Mumbai Indians. And then there was the iconic moment of all the players dancing together as they went on a lap of honour around the stadium, reminding people of the similar scenes at the same venue in 2011 when Kohli was among those who lifted Sachin Tendulkar on their shoulder around the ground.

On Thursday, there were no such scenes even though the two oldest members of the team and the most loved ones were retiring from this format of the game. However, there was no doubt in the minds of the gathered about the yeomen service both of them have rendered to the country

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