The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Frenzy erupts as team lands

Mumbai, March 25: There may have been the proverbial slip between the Cup and the lip for the Indian cricket team in South Africa. But in Mumbai, the slip didn’t show.

What showed was uncontrolled frenzy by fans, as Team India touched home ground to beating drums, showering of rose petals and chest-thumping patriotism. The reaction is giant leap from the time Mohammad Kaif’s home in Allahabad was “blackened’’ and a funeral of captain Sourav Ganguly’s effigy taken out in Calcutta.

Fans, many of whom had been waiting at Sahar International Airport since dawn, could not restrain themselves when the special Air-India chartered flight carrying the team landed at around 8.30 am.

Every team member — except vice-captain Rahul Dravid, Jawagal Srinath, Yuvraj Singh and Kaif, who decided to stay back in South Africa for another day — got a loud cheer. One louder than the other. But as in Indian cricket, the cheer was of a different pitch for Sachin Tendulkar. The master blaster came back a hero greater than ever.

Such was the deafening din that Sehwag was seen doing something that resembled a jig when the drums started rolling.

Of course, some drummers got trampled by overenthusiastic supporters forcing the music to subside for a while.

Nobody though, was willing to stand down — not the fans, nor the heroes.

“There will be disappointment,’’ said Nausher, who was at the airport to welcome the players. “But what we should not forget is that we beat England, New Zealand and Pakistan. They will be heroes.’’

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