It was a campaign that many thought would be doomed, but it took wings in unbelievable fashion. However, India’s hopes of defending the World Cup were crushed by Australia, who won the second semifinal by 95 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his teammates wasted little time in packing their bags, almost all of them having arrived in Australia in the third week of November.
Some of the key members left Sydney for India in the early hours on Friday. The Indian board had blocked the tickets until the final but after Sunday’s defeat, Dhoni and Kohli decided to take the first available flight home.
“Dhoni, Virat, Suresh Raina, Rohit Shrama and Ajinkya Rahane took early flights for Delhi and Mumbai today. Other members of the team are leaving later today and tomorrow. Some of them took the flight at 6 am,” the team’s media manager RN Baba said. “Most of the boys returned to the hotel from the stadium very late and took their flights a few hours later.”
The semifinal defeat, after seven wins in a row, ends India’s marathon 126-day tour, starting with the Australia Test series. Until the World Cup, India had not won a single match in Australia, but they regrouped strongly for their title defence.
“It’s a very long tour, over four months at one place. Another 20 days and we can apply for citizenship,” Dhoni joked, adding: “That’s the amount we are talking. But it has been good. We learned a lot from it.”
The Indian skipper will finally see his daughter, who was born before the World Cup began.
They will barely get a week’s break before they plunge into action in the Indian Premier League (IPL), starting on April 8.