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Warmth in Mumbai, heat in Karachi

‘Seeds have been sown for 2011 World Cup’

New Delhi/Ahmedabad, September 25: Indian cricket’s golden moment in South Africa will play out across the country once again tomorrow morning, when the entire Twenty20 World Cup-winning team will be paraded through Mumbai on an open bus from Sahar airport to Wankhede stadium for a “rousing public reception”.

After the recent turmoil over the Caribbean World Cup, the Essel Group’s breakaway league and Rahul Dravid’s resignation as skipper, the BCCI is going all out to roll out the red carpet for the “team that delivered when it mattered most.”

The result: the kind of reception that was last seen across the cricket world in 2005, when England toppled Australia in the Ashes before parading around London in an open bus, with mounds of confetti and screaming fans.

Reflecting the buoyant mood inside the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai, its Chief Administrative Officer, Prof Ratnakar Shetty told The Indian Express that “Indian cricket has now got a new direction. The core is being prepared for the 2011 World Cup, the seeds have been sown.”

“We are very happy that they played the way they did, and most importantly, enjoyed every moment. What we are really happy about is that they have sent the message that Indian cricket can continue, move on. There were people who had raised the question: what after the seniors retire? The answer is here,” said Prof Shetty.

Tomorrow, once the team reaches Wankhede stadium, there will be a felicitation function, organized in association with the Maharashtra government, in which the Indian board will hand over cheques to the players for the $ 200 million dollars that had been declared as bonus.

“We had celebrated then, they are celebrating now. We deserved it then, they deserve it now. It’s an occasion to be proud of being an Indian,” said an emotional Kapil Dev in Ahmedabad, comparing this win to the 1983 World Cup victory, when he was captain.

Dev was then 24, MS Dhoni today is 26. “A young captain has josh in him. He is fearless, courageous. And there are no expectations from him,” said Kapil.

However, Kapil echoed the fears of a million fans by adding: “We have to see now whether Dhoni can fulfill the expectations of his fans. He will have to achieve his own targets. If he can attain this, I would say he has done a very good job. For public and fans, there is no limit. So we will have to see,” said Kapil on the sidelines of a promotional event.

Now, the big question: how will it be to lead a side with three former captains in it, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, against the Australians in seven one-dayers starting next week?

“I don’t think that will change his approach much. A senior cricketer may feel awkward at times to take orders from a younger player. But the seniors should support Dhoni for the good of Indian cricket. Besides, the seniors had left the captaincy on their own, so they shouldn’t have a problem,” said Kapil.

Categories: Cricket News, twenty20
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