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Gloomy November 19 To Jubilant July 4: Journey Of Team India’s Two Meetings With PM Narendra Modi

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The last time the Indian men’s cricket team shared the room with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was the Ahmedabad dressing room filled with an atmosphere of gloom, heartbreak and distraught, but today, as the same team met PM Modi at his residence, it was a surreal display of pride and joy. The former meeting took place in the Indian team’s dressing room on November 19, last year, as the Men in Blue after 10 dominating victories failed to cross the final hurdle against Australia in the ODI World Cup at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium.

The defeat had left the entire nation heartbroken, as India had not just lost a World Cup after such an unprecedented show of dominance, but it once again fell short on the home turf, against arch-rivals Australia, a team that had already given plenty of heartbreaks to India in the 75-something years of rivalry.

As the wait for the next ICC trophy — after the Champions Trophy win in 2013 — crossed a decade, the teary-eyed players left for their dressing rooms after post-match presentations, to completely express their emotions after once again despite giving their best, they fell short of the finishing line.

During these heartbreaking moments, PM Modi came to cheer up the nation’s most cherished and beloved group of boys. He went to each player one by one, shaking their hands or hugging them, comforting them with his words, and asking them to keep their morale up.

He went to Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, two of the country’s biggest cricketing superstars, consoling them by saying “It happens, you have won 10 games straight” and urged them to keep each other’s morale up.

The two legends didn’t know then, they would be standing in a completely different position a few months later.

Fast forward to 2024, and times have changed for good. From gloomy, depressed faces after a defeat at Ahmedabad, Men in Blue returned to India as undefeated T20 champions of the world, battling different and difficult opponents, conditions, pitches, and match situations on their way towards the championship trophy.

The players’ faces are filled with pride, jubilation and joy. There is a sense of relief to have finally secured a World Cup as a group, which includes stars like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, and head coach Rahul Dravid, whose journey towards immortality and greatness was stopped by Australia just seven months ago.

The promise made to the nation was finally fulfilled in the Caribbean, which was, interestingly, the place where one of the most heartbreaking chapters of Indian cricket was written back in 2007: A first-round exit in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.

It was after this humiliating exit under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy that Men in Blue went on to win the T20 World Cup (2007), ICC Cricket World Cup (2011) and ICC Champions Trophy (2013) back-to-back-to-back under MS Dhoni to complete a memorable white-ball cricket treble. Dravid, then the captain, finally returned back home with his first big trophy in international cricket, as a coach.

After their T20 WC triumph, players were seen laughing, and interacting joyously with the Prime Minister, as they talked about the tournament. Prime Minister posed for a picture with the entire team of players and coaches, holding the trophy along with skipper Rohit and coach Dravid.

During their meeting with the Prime Minister, the ‘Men in Blue’ wore a special jersey sporting two stars over the BCCI’s emblem. The stars represented the two T20 World Cup wins. The word ‘CHAMPIONS’ was written on the jersey in bold letters.

Earlier today, the T20 World Cup-winning Indian team touched down in the national capital, to a warm welcome from fans, who were eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of their favourite heroes and the trophy.

The winning team along with the support staff, their families, and the media were stuck in Barbados, as the island nation was hit by Hurricane Beryl. Finally, they boarded the special flight organised by BCCI Secretary Jay Shah on Wednesday.

Team India reached the ITC Maurya Hotel, where they also cut a special cake featuring the T20 World Cup trophy to celebrate the historic win.

As many winning teams do across all sports, the Rohit-led side is scheduled to have an open-top bus ride in Mumbai at Marine Drive and the iconic Wankhede Stadium from 5:00 pm onwards to celebrate an occasion, the nation has witnessed after 13 long years.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Smriti Mandhana Gifts Wheelchair-Bound Girl Mobile Phone After India Match In Asia Cup

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Smriti Mandhana (right) with a differently-abled girl.© X/@OfficialSLC




In a heartwarming gesture, star India batter Smriti Mandhana gifted a wheelchair-bound girl a mobile phone after the team’s match at the ongoing women’s T20 Asia Cup tournament in Dambulla. Adeesha Herath, who came to the stadium escorted by her mother in a wheelchair, experienced a pleasant surprise as Mandhana came to meet her and presented her a phone. “Adeesha Herath’s love for cricket brought her to the stadium, despite all the challenges. The highlight of her day? A surprise encounter with her favourite cricketer, Smriti Mandhana, who handed her a mobile phone as a token of appreciation,” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a tweet.

In the video posted along with the tweet, Mandhana was heard asking the girl her name.

“You like cricket, that is nice. You enjoyed today’s match. I have brought a gift for you from all of us,” Mandhana told the girl, before having a high-five with her and posing for a photograph.

The girl’s mother said it was an unexpected gift.

“We came to watch the match unexpectedly, as my daughter wanted to go for the match. We met Mandhana madam from Indian team and my daughter received a phone from her. It was unexpected and my daughter is so lucky to receive this gift from her,” she said.

India beat arch rivals Pakistan by seven wickets on Friday in their opening match. They are up against United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Sri Lanka Beat Bangladesh By 7 Wickets In Women’s T20 Asia Cup

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Hosts Sri Lanka started their campaign in the Women’s T20 Asia Cup on a positive note, beating Bangladesh by seven wickets in Dambulla on Saturday. After restricting Bangladesh to a modest 111 for eight, Sri Lanka completed the task with 17 balls to spare, reaching 114/3 in 17.1 overs. Opting to bat first, Bangladesh were off to a disastrous start and lost three wickets with just six runs on the board. It soon became 17/4, and then 48/5, before skipper Nigar Sultana steadied the sinking ship with a 48-run knock that came off 59 balls and included six boundaries.

Down the order, Shorna Akter contributed a brisk 14-ball 25 as Bangladesh crossed 100.

Udeshika Prabodhani (2/20) and Inoshi Priyadharshani (2/17) grabbed two wickets each for Sri Lanka, while there was one apiece for Sugandika Kumari, Kavisha Dilhari and Chamari Athapaththu.

As far as Sri Lanka batting was concerned, opener Vishmi Gunaratne was the highest scorer with 51 off 48 balls, hitting seven fours and a six in her knock.

Harshitha Samarawickrama chipped in with 33 in 31 balls and got out with her team on the doorstep of victory.

Nahida Akter was the best bowler for Bangladesh, finishing with fine figures of 3/12 in her quota of four overs.

Thailand defeat Malaysia

In the day’s first match, Thailand got the better of Malaysia by 22 runs.

Batting first, Thailand posted 133 for six after wicketkeeper Nannapat Koncharoenkai top-scored with a 35-ball 40, while Phannita Maya chipped in with 29 in 28 deliveries.

Mahirah Izzati Ismail was the most successful bowler for Malaysia, returning excellent figures of 3/16 in four overs.

Mahirah’s effort, however, went in vain as Thailand restricted their opponents to 111 for eight in the allotted 20 overs, despite a half century from opener Wan Julia (52 off 53 balls).

Captain Winifred Duraisingam made 22 in 28 balls at the top of the order while being associated in a 68-run first-wicket partnership with Julia.

The Malaysian batting, however, collapsed after that as Thailand produced a disciplined show with the ball to emerge victorious.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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“Very Slim Chances”: Ex-Pakistan Board Chief’s Blunt Admission On India Travelling For Champions Trophy

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File photo of an India vs Pakistan match© AFP




Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Khalid Mahmood believes India will not travel to Pakistan for the ICC Champions Trophy early next year. “They are very very slim chances they will agree to play in Pakistan,” Mahmood, who is a retired senior bureaucrat, said. He, however, said that if India doesn’t visit Pakistan, it would be a non-profitable deal for PCB and the ICC.

“India is the richest cricket board and carries a lot of clout. If they don’t send their team to Pakistan I foresee even countries like Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh following their path,” Mahmood said.

“This would basically reduce the Champions Trophy into a venture where revenues will take a hit, expenses will grow and profits would fall,” Mahmood, who twice went to India in 1989 and 1999 as Pakistan’s junior and senior team manager, said.

Mahmood said that PCB should just follow their policy of not mixing sports and politics.

“Look the thing is at this level you can only lobby and try to convince other boards to be on your side. India has too much clout in the ICC it would do no good for Pakistan to adopt a tit for tat strategy.” “Thing is when the BCCI says it can’t send its team and will play its matches outside Pakistan, it does reduce the purpose for Pakistan of hosting an ICC event,” he added.

The Champions Trophy is scheduled to be held from February 19 to March 9 next year.

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