Cricket heroes batted out of the first row

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Mumbai, Sep 26 (UNI) It was supposed to be their day of glory for the fifteen players who had won the Twenty20 World Cup, but the BCCI top brass and state politicians managed to steal the thunder during the felicitation function at the Wankhede Stadium here today.

The front row was occupied by the BCCI top brass and Maharashtra state ministers with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni the only Team India member finding a place in it.

Also on the front row were BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, vice presidents Lalit Modi and Rajeev Shukla, and former Board president I S Bindra.

In fact, the whole spectacle seemed like a carefully organised political rally with Board President Sharad Pawar, who is the Union Agriculture Minister and a political heavyweight of the state, playing to the galleries in his short speech as if it was an election rally.

He was clearly trying to take full mileage out of the unexpected victory that Dhoni and his boys achieved at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Not to be outdone, Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil gave a speech in Marathi that seemed unusually long and out of place in the setting, with other state politicians also sharing the spotlight.

When his turn to speak came, Dhoni could not help remarking, ''A lot has been said in English and Marathi. Now let me stick to Hindi.'' UNI

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