Bengaluru: They came, they saw, they conquered. Bengaluru's Jain University were convincing winners of the inaugural Toyota University Cricket Championship after beating Jamia Millia Islamia by two runs in a pulsating final in New Delhi on March 10. On Wednesday, it was party time as the team was feted at one of the University's colleges in south Bangalore. A courtyard packed with students celebrated the triumph as the players walked nine feet tall.
The show began with clippings from the live telecast of the tournament's matches. Brilliant batting by captain and Man of the Series Kaunain Abbas, Man of the Match Shreyas Gopal's all-round show in a low-scoring final and Jain's amazing fielding skills in a nail-biting contest against Delhi's Jamia were highlighted. It was clear the team was re-living those decisive moments. And the cheers from their classmates only added to the atmosphere.
The gleaming trophy was displayed as players spoke about their experiences. There were more highs than lows for the Rohinton Baria champions as the boys now aspire to play for Team India. A clutch of Jain University players like Gopal have already played for the Indian under-19 team. Some like left-arm spinner Suchith Jagadeesh have even represented Karnataka at various age-level tournaments.
Skipper Abbas was not present - he was in another city --. you guessed it, playing cricket. But the family of the big hitter was present, still basking in the glow of his achievement in winning the player of the tournament award and a Toyota Etios for his 314 runs.
The players told NDTV that they their University gave them huge support - in giving them attendance and special classes to help them make up for what they had missed. And when we asked them who would win next year's tournament, there was no hesitation in the answer - that they would win next time...and every time!
And the celebrations seem to have just begun! The University is sending the team on a holiday to Singapore and Malaysia as a reward for their efforts that have put the University firmly on the country's sporting map.