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No open top bus ride for tri-series winners

The players will reach Mumbai from Australia at around 11 am and then take a chartered flight to the capital.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2008 08:43 PM IST

The Indian cricket team, which won the cricket tri-series in Australia, will return to a comparatively low-key welcome as the trip from the airport to the Ferozeshah Kotla ground in an open-top bus has been cancelled.

When the Twenty20 world champions returned from South Africa last year, they were given a memorable welcome in Mumbai as they were taken from the airport to the Wankhede stadium in an open top bus surrounded by a virtual sea of humanity cheering for the players.

The bus moved at a snail's pace and the distance of 30 km took more than five hours to be covered.

But such scenes will not be seen when the tri-series champions step down in Delhi on the morrow.

The players will reach Mumbai from Australia at around 11 am and then take a chartered flight to the capital.

They will be welcomed at the airport and then taken to a city hotel before the civic reception at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

"The players have been in Australia for more than two-and-a-half months and will also be tired after the two flights. That's why we have not made any elaborate arrangements as the players will be eager to go home," BCCI Vice-President Rajiv Shukla told reporters.

"We had seen that in Mumbai it took a long time to cover the distance. The traffic in Delhi would be a major problem. We had received requests to take the bus through various parts of the city. It was not feasible so we dropped the idea," Shukla said.

The players will be felicitated by, among others, BCCI chief Sharad Pawar and Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Tejinder Khanna.

He said the players had a hectic schedule ahead, including the home series against South Africa and the Indian Premier League, and needed rest.

DDCA president Arun Jaitley informed that there would be free entry for the civic reception at the stadium and the gates would be opened at 1 pm.

"To prevent any damage to the ground and the pitch, the public will not be allowed to get on to the green turf. Only cameramen and photographers can get on it," Jaitley said.

Virat Kohli and Pradeep Sangwan, the two Delhi players in the victorious Indian team at the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia, are also expected and the DDCA is considering announcing some cash rewards for them, as well as the three Delhi players in the senior side - Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma and Virender Sehwag, Jaitley added.

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