Team accorded 'water salute' after plane lands, Mumbai buzzing with chants of ‘India ka Raja Rohit Sharma’ as champions return (Ld)

Mumbai, July 4 (IANS) The anticipation is palpable as the clock ticks down to the grand felicitation ceremony for Team India at Mumbai's iconic Wankhede Stadium, celebrating their triumph in the T20 World Cup 2024 in Barbados. A water salute was accorded to the Indian men's cricket team as it landed in the City on Thursday evening.
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Team accorded 'water salute' after plane lands, Mumbai buzzing with chants of ‘India ka Raja Rohit Sharma’ as champions return (Ld)

Mumbai, July 4 (IANS) The anticipation is palpable as the clock ticks down to the grand felicitation ceremony for Team India at Mumbai's iconic Wankhede Stadium, celebrating their triumph in the T20 World Cup 2024 in Barbados. A water salute was accorded to the Indian men's cricket team as it landed in the City on Thursday evening.

The Men in Blue, captained by the local hero Rohit Sharma, touched down in the Maximum City at 5:30 pm but the fervour among the fans had already reached fever pitch hours before their arrival.

Two Indian icons, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, were honoured by the airline Vistara. The call sign that has been assigned to the Indian team's Vistara flight as it travels from Delhi to Mumbai is what makes it unique. 'UK1845' is the call sign for India's flight from Delhi to Mumbai, and it represents Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma's jersey numbers.

The Marine Drive area from Nariman Point to Wankhede Stadium is choc-e-block with thousands of people converging to the Fort area in Mumbai for the Victory Parade for the team for winning the T20 World Cup for the second time. It just looked like a sea of people that have brought the City that Never Sleeps to a standstill.

People had lined up the road as the bus carrying the team travelled through the Western Express Highway to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link on its way to Nariman Point in a convoy from where they would travel nearly 2km to reach the Wankhede where they would be felicitated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The gates of Wankhede Stadium, specifically Nos. 2, 3, and 4, were opened precisely at 4:00 PM on this memorable Thursday. The BCCI and the Maharashtra Cricket Association, in a gracious gesture, have made the entry free, inviting fans to partake in this historic celebration.

Chants of "Mumbai Cha Raja Rohit Sharma" reverberate through the stadium as a tribute to the hometown boy who led India to World Cup glory.

The atmosphere in the stadium is electric, with dhols beating in rhythm and fans waving the Tricolor, creating a vibrant mosaic of national pride and sporting euphoria. The felicitation ceremony which was earlier set to commence at 7:00 PM might get delayed to 8:00-8:30 pm.

"See you soon, Wankhede," said Hardik Pandya in a post on X, sharing it with a photograph of him holding the T20 World Cup trophy, beaming in delight. Mumbai is like a second home for Pandya as he made his IPL debut at the Wankhede in 2015 and led them in this year's edition.

The players will be taken for an open-top bus parade from Nariman Point to Wankhede stadium allowing the fans around the route to have a glimpse of the cricket stars with the iconic trophy, which India has won after a drought of more than a decade. This is India's second triumph in the T20 World Cup after M.S. Dhoni's team lifted the trophy in the inaugural edition in 2007.

Earlier on Thursday, the Indian team landed on home soil in the wee hours and was greeted by an enthusiastic Delhi crowd. The heroes' journey began with a jubilant cake-cutting ceremony at ITC Maurya in Delhi, followed by a special meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence before they left for Mumbai.

--IANS

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