Big win for small towns: Dhoni

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India's cricket world cup champions arrived to a big welcome at Wankhede stadium after a glorious victory procession.

Updated: September 29, 2007 07:55 IST
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India's cricket world cup champions arrived to a big welcome at Wankhede stadium after a glorious victory procession that took five hours to cover the 30 kilometers from Sahar airport in Mumbai.

Thousands of Mumbaikars thronged the streets repeatedly holding up the procession.

But despite the fan frenzy and early morning rain, there was no dampening the team's spirits as they basked in the glory.

Giant hoardings were on display to congratulate the surprise winners after India beat arch-rivals Pakistan on Saturday in Johannesburg by just five runs in a thriller of a final.

The Indian board awarded a cash bonus of $3 million to the team. A special cash award of Rs 1 crore was given out to batsman Yuvraj Singh, who hit six sixes in an over against England.

Prizes galore>>>

Skipper M S Dhoni reminded the crowd in Mumbai that the world cup was won by small town boys who he said are both physically and mentally tougher than city kids.

"I think that those who come from small towns are physically and mentally more tough compared to those who are from the metros, despite the fact that they get all the facilities and infrastructure. On the other hand, in a small town, players know that unless they perform in a big stage, they will not be recognised.

"However, today whether a person comes from a metro or a small town, he wants to perform on the international stage. Therefore, I think our Twenty20 win is about those boys who want to perform at an international level," said M S Dhoni, Captain, Indian Cricket Team.

Heroes welcome

Earlier in the day, BCCI chief Sharad Pawar was all praises for the world champion Indian cricket team and its captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Pawar said the young brigade has brought an all-new dimension to Indian cricket.

Commenting on the fans' frenzy witnessed on Wednesday, Pawar said he was reminded of a similar mood in 1971 while welcoming the victorious team led by Ajit Wadekar.

The Men in Blue returned home to a heroes' welcome in Mumbai on Wednesday morning at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

BCCI President Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Deputy CM R R Patil and their Cabinet colleagues welcomed the champions along with hundreds of drum-beating supporters.

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