Grand welcome for Team India at Kotla

There's a mad rush outside the Ferozshah Kotla banners welcoming the team all round.

updated: March 07, 2008 12:47 IST
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New Delhi:

There was a mad rush at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium where Indian cricketers - both seniors and juniors - were felicitated for their wins in the CB Series and the Youth World Cup.

Here's a reporter's blog of events on Wednesday noon, in reverse chronological order:

5.03 pm: The team disappears into the pavilion. And I need a new set of eardrums.

4.59 pm: Dhoni speaks in Hindi, congratulates the Under-19 team.

4.40 pm: The players start getting their cheques. 58 lakh rupees each. Dhoni is all beams after getting his cheque.

4.37 pm: This time the organisers had the good sense to place the team in the front row. But spare us the talk from the babus please. Bring us Dhoni.

4.35 pm: Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna presents a plaque to Dhoni. Huge roar. Khanna starts off a speech. No roar.

4.26 pm: The players don't exactly look thrilled. Most of them look tired. Except for Gautam Gambhir who must be relieved to be back home in Delhi.

4.23 pm: The team's here. The DJ is playing Chak de India. And the roof's about to fall off from the noise.

4.15 pm: Virat and Pradeep Sangwan get a round of applause for their youth world cup heroics.

4.13 pm: BCCI chief Sharad Pawar arrives. A really loud welcome for him. And for S Bindra. Not so much for Rajeev Shukla and Lalit Modi. The team is expected here soon.

3.48 pm: A buzz in the crowd as India's youth world cup winning captain Virat Kohli arrives at the presentation area. Everybody is on to Virat, including DDCA officials with bizarre hairdos.

3.34 pm: One wonders the commonsense in dragging the team for this ceremony all the way to Delhi. Great win, no doubt, but the team must be tired mentally and physically after the long controversial tour.

3.21 pm: The stands closest to the presentation area are jam-packed. The only unoccupied areas are the VIP boxes and members area that are off limits to the public. The young crowd is anxiously waiting for the Indian team that should be here in an hour.

3.10 pm: Dharamveer, the body-painted fan, who travels with other Indian fans, is doing a lap of honour at the Kotla. It's a warm day in Delhi. The host is driving himself hoarse. And the music is terrible.

3.06 pm: There's a mad rush outside the Ferozshah Kotla with banners welcoming the team all around. The parking lots are full and the traffic police dread days like these. Not to mention biriyani sellers are experiencing windfalls.

3.01 pm: The victorious Indian cricket team leaves the Delhi airport in a bus for the hotel. Virender Sehwag leaves earlier in a personal vehicle.