Team India returns to grand welcome

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his young bravehearts arrived to a tumultuous welcome here with hundreds of frenzied fans cheering the cricket team.

Updated: March 06, 2008 11:37 IST
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New Delhi:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his young bravehearts, who created history by winning India's first-ever tri-series title on Australian soil, arrived to a tumultuous welcome here with hundreds of frenzied fans cheering the cricket team.

The team, which reached Mumbai in the morning, flew into the national capital by a chartered flight at around 2.05 pm, marking the end of a three-month-long explosive tour which made more headlines for a racism row and the constant bickering between the two teams.

Hundreds of fans waited outside the airport to have a glimpse of Dhoni and his young warriors who defied all odds to conquer world champions Australia with a 2-0 margin in the best-of-three tri-series finals.

Top officials of the Cricket Board and the Delhi and District Cricket Association were present at the airport to receive the team.

It was an emotional home-coming for the players as the waiting fans, many of them holding placards, cheered them lustily as they stepped out of the terminal gates and proceeded towards a flower-bedecked bus.

The players, dressed in white T-shirts, acknowledged the cheers of the crowd as they jostled their way out of the airport with the help of security men who tried to cordon off the fans.

Hordes of cameramen, who had taken up vantage positions much before the team's arrival, tried to capture the moment.

It took some time for all the players and the support staff to board the bus and leave for a city hotel.

Team manager Lalchand Rajput was the first to get down from the bus at the hotel, followed by Sachin Tendulkar and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

They were garlanded and showered with flower petals once they entered the hotel lobby.

The team will be felicitated at a civic reception to be held at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground later in the day.

The players will be felicitated by, among others, BCCI chief Sharad Pawar and Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Tejinder Khanna.

The BCCI had initially planned to take the team on an open-top bus from the airport to the Ferozeshah Kotla like they had done for the Twenty20 World Cup winning team in Mumbai last year, but cancelled the idea later.

"The players have been in Australia for more than two-and-a-half months and will also be tired after the two flights. That's why we have not made any elaborate arrangements as the players will be eager to go home," BCCI Vice-President Rajiv Shukla said.

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