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Pakistan players welcomed home despite semi-final defeat

cricket Updated: Apr 01, 2011 16:47 IST

Reuters
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Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was looking forward to resting his aching limbs after returning home from the World Cup to a heroes' welcome on Friday.

Afridi, Younus Khan and Asad Shafiq touched down in Karachi, while the rest of the players and officials flew to Lahore where the Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman were present to welcome them.

Despite losing to arch-rivals India in the semi-finals, Afridi was greeted at the airport by a large number of hollering fans who chanted "Boom Boom Afridi we love you" and cries of "Pakistan team has done us proud."

However, after all their exploits in the tournament, Afridi wanted a break.

"To lose the semi-final was disappointing but I think now the time has come for senior players to be rested and new players to be tried out," he said.

A PCB source told Reuters earlier in the day that Afridi had withdrawn from next month's tour to West Indies as he wanted "a break from the game".

Emotional scenes were also witnessed at Lahore airport where dozens of fans mobbed the players while others danced around.

"The team has done the nation proud by defeating stronger rivals to reach this semi-final. I hope they continue to perform like this and bring more laurels for the country," Sharif said.

He announced a grand reception for the players on April 5 to celebrate their performance in the World Cup.