Team India pose during their felicitation ceremony at Wankhede stadium upon their arrival in Mumbai on July 4, 2024,
Team India pose during their felicitation ceremony at Wankhede stadium upon their arrival in Mumbai on July 4, 2024,AFP

Team India's T20 World Cup triumph celebrations: Mumbai halts to salute parade; Champions felicitated

The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai was thrown open to fans, who filled up the stands within minutes to celebrate the Indian cricket team's title triumph last Saturday.

NEW DELHI: The T20 World Cup victory parade of Rohit Sharma and co. concluded in Mumbai on Thursday. The parade, which kicked off from Marine Drive, ended at the Wankhede Stadium.

An ocean of humanity greeted the victory parade in South Mumbai's Marine Drive as thousands of passionate fans gathered to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars, bringing the traffic to a complete standstill.

The open bus parade, which was delayed by more than a couple of hours, started from the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in Nariman Point post 7:30pm and went till the Wankhede Stadium.

The distance is covered usually in five minutes but it took more than one-and-a-half-hour as the players savoured the evening of their lives all drenched, not in rain but unadulterated love from their die-hard fans.

Rohit Sharma thanked Mumbai for the turnout, "The huge turnout of fans to welcome the Indian cricket team shows they were as desperate for this T20 World Cup title as the players," he said.

Outgoing coach Rahul Dravid expressed his gratitude, stating, "I am going to miss this love. What I saw on the streets tonight, I won't forget it."

Virat Kohli reflected on the emotional impact of the victory, saying, "I couldn't connect with the emotions of seniors who cried after the 2011 World Cup triumph, but now I do." He also observed, "This is the first time in 15 years that I have seen Rohit show so much emotion."

"When we were climbing those steps (at Kensington Oval) he was crying and I was crying," Kohli added.

India pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah expressed, "What I saw today, I have never seen anything like this before," following the parade.

Virat Kohli made a bold declaration. "I'm signing the petition right now for Jasprit Bumrah to be the eighth wonder of the world," Kohli proclaimed, praising the "once-in-a-generation" bowler who earned India's player of the tournament title. Mumbai echoed their approval with resounding cheers—hardly a surprise, given Bumrah's exceptional performance.

Then there was Hardik Pandya, who probably found organic acceptance, after a stellar T20 World Cup campaign as he was the first to lift the trophy and show it to the fans.

The once jeered 'Mumbai Indian' was the cheered 'Indian' in Mumbai.

The 'Maximum City' was ready to shower 'Maximum Love' for the colourful 'Baroda Bomber', who has made Mumbai his home.

He craved for validation and unconditional love and Mumbai was now ready to embrace him once again.

One of the standout moments at Wankhede was when the Indian captain lauded his deputy, Pandya, for his pivotal role in bowling the final over of the T20 World Cup final.

"Hats off to him for bowling that last over. Regardless of the required runs, there's immense pressure in bowling that over. Hats off to him," the Indian skipper praised, prompting chants of "Hardik! Hardik!" from the crowd. Pandya responded with a smile, standing up to wave at the cheering fans.

Pandya later expressed his gratitude on social media, thanking India for its overwhelming love and support during the celebrations

BCCI office-bearers presented Team India with a cheque of Rs 125 crores. The BCCI had announced the prize money for the team after the T20 World Cup.

During the parade, both Rohit and Kohli lifted the World Cup together on the bus as fans applauded them. The mood in the Indian camp was euphoric as they soaked in the celebrations from the fans.

It was a special moment for the 37-year-old Rohit, who is a Mumbaikar and a huge fan favourite in the city.

In 2007, Rohit Sharma was the youngest member of the Mahendra Singh Dhoni's epoch-making squad and now at 37, for him to lead his T20 World Champion Indian cricket team on a victory parade must have given him a sense of deja vu.

He is now the oldest member of this current team, 'been there and done that' and even as the faces around him changed in more than one-and-a-half decades, the now-retired Indian T20 skipper remained a constant for all these years.

As the bus passed through the sea of human, his mind must have travelled back to that September morning in 2007 when Mumbai was as drenched as it was on Thursday evening.

Chants of "Mumbaicha Raja Kaun? Rohit Sharma" (Who's the King of Mumbai? Rohit Sharma) reverberated through the roads.

Dravid was also seen applauding the fans, while many players had covered themselves with the national flag and were enjoying the scenes. Plenty of security personnel were present with the bus for safety reasons.

The Wankhede Stadium was thrown open to fans, who filled the stands within minutes to celebrate the Indian cricket team's title triumph last Saturday.

The iconic stadium which witnessed India's last ODI World Cup triumph in 2011 had its stands filled to the brim by passionate fans as thousand others waited outside the gates which were closed around 5:00pm.

Earlier in the day, the T20 World Cup winners met with PM Modi at his residence in Delhi.

They spent close to two hours at the 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence of the Prime Minister before heading back to the hotel.

The Men in Blue wore a special jersey while meeting PM Modi. In the front of the jersey 'CHAMPIONS' was written in bold letters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses for a group photograph with the 2024 T20 World Cup-winning Indian cricket team during an interaction, in New Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses for a group photograph with the 2024 T20 World Cup-winning Indian cricket team during an interaction, in New Delhi.Photo | PTI

The Men in Blue got hold of the prestigious T20 WC trophy for the second time, defeating South Africa by seven runs in Barbados on Saturday.

The T20 World Cup-winning Indian team touched down in Delhi on Thursday to a warm welcome from the fans awaiting the sight of their favourite heroes and the sight of the silverware.

The squad members, support staff, their families and media were stuck in Barbados, which was hit by Hurricane Beryl, at that stage a category four hurricane that passed through Barbados, with Grantley Adams International Airport in Bridgetown shut for three days. They were cocooned in their hotel before the BCCI made arrangements for the special charter flight.

Hundreds of supporters, holding placards congratulating their favourites and waving the national flag, braved the weather to welcome the victorious side, which defeated South Africa by seven runs in the final in Bridgetown on Saturday last week.

"We have waited for this moment for the past 13 years. The team has made us proud by winning the World Cup," a fan, who claimed to have been waiting since 4:30am in the morning said, referring to India's last World Cup triumph which came back in 2011.

The Air India special charter flight AIC24WC -- Air India Champions 24 World Cup -- which left Barbados around 4:50am local time on Wednesday arrived in Delhi at 6am (IST) on Thursday after a 16-hour non-stop journey.

Team India pose during their felicitation ceremony at Wankhede stadium upon their arrival in Mumbai on July 4, 2024,
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Heavy security was deployed to keep the crowd in check at the Indira Gandhi International Airport but that did little to dampen the spirits as fans cheered enthusiastically holding up posters of star batter Virat Kohli, skipper Rohit Sharma and outgoing head coach Rahul Dravid.

Tired but excited, the players acknowledged the waiting fans by waving at them and flashing warm smiles.

Suryakumar Yadav, who took the sensational match-winning catch of David Miller in the final, was the most enthusiastic in responding to the cheering.

Wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant saluted the gathered crowd, while pacer Mohammed Siraj blew flying kisses in their direction.

Rohit and Player of the Final Virat Kohli, both of whom retired from T20Is at the end of India's campaign, were among the last to come out of the VIP exit.

Rohit, who held the coveted trophy in his hands, raised it for the fans to catch a glimpse before boarding the bus.

Kohli gave a thumbs up to acknowledge the support before taking his place in the bus.

In their excitement to see their heroes in person, some fans claimed that they had been waiting outside the airport since last night.

"We have been here since last night. It was very important for us to win this World Cup after losing the ODI World Cup last year," a group of fans said.

The squad won the country its second T20 world title, ending an 11-year wait for an ICC trophy, on Saturday.

India's previous ICC title was in 2013 when it won the Champions Trophy under Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Its earlier World Cup titles came in 1983 (ODI), 2007 (T20) and 2011 (ODI).

BCCI secretary Jay Shah and Rohit had posted on social media on Wednesday, urging fans to turn up in large numbers to show their support for the side.

Team India pose during their felicitation ceremony at Wankhede stadium upon their arrival in Mumbai on July 4, 2024,
Tight security for victory parade of T20 world champs in Mumbai

A similar road show was held in Mumbai 17 years ago when Dhoni's team had beaten arch-rivals Pakistan in the final of the inaugural 2007 World T20 in South Africa.

Four Mumbai players of the T20 World Cup cricket team will be felicitated in the Maharashtra Vidhan Bhavan complex here on Friday, state assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar said in the House on Thursday.

Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma, Shivam Dube and Yashasvi Jaiswal, all from Mumbai, were part of India's T20 World Cup squad.

Team India pose during their felicitation ceremony at Wankhede stadium upon their arrival in Mumbai on July 4, 2024,
Indian team to return home on Wednesday evening, expected to meet PM Modi

(With inputs from PTI)

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