Several members of the Indian cricket team, the one that stole a billion hearts with its performance in Australia, trooped back home on Thursday. They have been advised to remain in seven-day home quarantine, officials said.
While the newest Captain Cool, Ajinkya Rahane, arrived in Mumbai along with Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw and coach Ravi Shastri, Mohammed Siraj landed in Shamshadabad, Telangana and Rishabh Pant in Delhi.
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An injury-ravaged young India Team beat hosts Australia by three wickets in the series-deciding fourth Test at the Gabba on Tuesday to clinch the series 2-1 and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Rahane, the stand-in captain, arrived to a hero’s welcome at his home in Mumbai. People had turned up in large numbers as the 32-year-old arrived to beats of drums and slogans of “Ajinkya ala re ala”. Family members welcomed the cricketer, seen holding his daughter, with puja and prasad, as seen in a video tweeted by ANI.
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Mohammad Siraj, who played a key role in India’s stupendous show, visited his father’s grave immediately on his arrival. The Hyderabad bowler’s father, Mohammed Ghaus, passed away on November 20 while he was in Australia. Siraj had the option to return home for the funeral, but chose to remain in Australia to fulfil his father’s dream.
Siraj had a dream test debut in Melbourne and claimed 13 wickets in three Tests, including a five-wicket haul on Day 4 of the Gabba Test where India beat the hosts by three wickets. Speaking to media after his superlative performance, Siraj had said, “It was a tough situation, dad’s demise. I got strength after talking to mom and my focus was to realise dad’s dream. I got mentally strong with their support. I felt that whatever was dad’s desire, I have to fulfil that. It got fulfilled.”
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In Delhi, Rishabh Pant said on his arrival, “I am so happy that we retained the trophy. The whole team is very happy with the way we played the series.”
Most members of the playing XI are returning after a long stint away from home. Most flew directly from UAE, where IPL 2020 was held, to Sydney for the all-format tour of Australia. The gruelling schedule seemed to have taken a toll on them, with several players reporting injuries.
The homecoming, however, is going to be a short one as the players are expected to again go into a bio-bubble for the upcoming England series. The players are expected to regroup by January 29 for the series that begins on February 5.