Wednesday, March 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Tumultuous welcome to cricket team

Mumbai, March 25
It was a welcome befitting conquering heroes when the Indian cricket team arrived here Tuesday.

Hundreds of excited and cheering fans thronged the international airport to greet the team even though it had failed to bring home the World Cup from South Africa after losing to Australia in Sunday’s final.

You did your best and better luck next time, seemed to be the general feeling as Saurav Ganguly’s team, clad in yellow T-shirts and blue trousers made their way out of the terminal clutching bouquets that had been thrust into their hands and with vermilion smeared on their foreheads.

Indian cricket board chief Jagmohan Dalmiya who had been locked in a bitter dispute with the players over a sponsorship contract mandated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) had travelled back with the players from South Africa.

Others who arrived included Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Vishwanath.

The team was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday but their plans were advanced.

Ganguly was the first one out of the airport vehicle followed by Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan, Dinesh Mongia and Harbhajan Singh. Sachin Tendulkar and Ajit Agarkar slipped out from another exit into the waiting team bus.

Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble are scheduled to arrive later.

India won nine of the 11 matches it played in the World Cup, including a keenly fought encounter with archrivals Pakistan. Eight of the matches were won on the trot. IANS


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