Mumbai, Sep 26 (UNI) Cricket frenzy gripped Mumbai as the victorious Team India, which created history by winning the inaugural T20 World Cup beating arch rivals Pakistan in a thrilling finale, landed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here this morning.
Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, BCCI Chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar welcomed the team on their arrival.
The cricketers boarded a 'Vijay Rath' (an open decked BEST bus) at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport amid unprecedented fan enthusiasm and rage. Young and old, men and women braved the heavy rains and lined up the road from the International airport to the Western Express Highway and from the highway to south Mumbai passing through famous landmarks like Mahim Church, Shivaji Park, Siddhivinayak temple, Haji Ali, Mahalaxmi temple, 'Prabhu Kunj', the residence of melody queen Lata Mangeshkar on Peddar Road and Marine Drive known as the Queen's necklace.
The cricketers led by captain M S Dhoni showed no signs of jet-lag and responded to the fans' enthusiasm in equal measure. Despite heavy rains, all the players and the support staff, fully drenched, were on the open decked bus acknowledging the cheers all along the route which is nearly 35 km long.
Carrying the national flags, the young players like Dinesh Kartick, Robin Uttappa, S Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan danced to the tunes of the songs like 'Chak de India', 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom', 'Hum Hain Hindustani' as fans showered flower petals on them.
For once, officegoers did not mind the traffic snarls as the city police and traffic personnel assisted by private security officials tried their best to ensure that there was no chaos. On the Western Express Highway, some youth belonging to Sarvajanik Ganesh mandals started beating their dhols and burst crackers as the team bus passed by. The Ganesh festival had concluded yesterday.
Youngsters had rushed to the airport since 0730 hrs to catch a glimpse of their idols. Political parties - Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress - brought their workers along with truck loads of flowers which they showered on the cavalcade. Banners and posters carrying pictures of political leaders, welcoming the team were put up all along the route overnight.