Chants of ‘aala re aala Ajinkya aala’ headlined a red carpet welcome for Ajinkya Rahane on his triumphant return from Australia with some other teammates but the mood was sombre in Hyderabad as one of his warriors, Mohammed Siraj, headed straight to his father’s grave.
The chants [meaning here comes our Ajinkya] were heard amid the beating of the traditional dhol tasha and showering of flower petals at Rahane’s residential complex.
Besides stand-in captain Rahane, also arriving in Mumbai were coach Ravi Shastri, star batsman Rohit Sharma, pacer Shardul Thakur and opener Prithvi Shaw, while Brisbane Test hero Rishabh Pant landed in the national capital early this morning.
India`s Shardul Thakur (third from left) is flanked by MCA president Dr Vijay Patil (second from right) and MCA Apex Council members Dr Unmesh Khanvilkar (extreme right) and Ajinkya Naik (left) on his arrival at the Mumbai airport yesterday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Siraj, who decided to stay put in Australia with the team and miss his father’s last rites, drove straight from Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport to the graveyard and paid his last respects to his departed father Mohammed Ghouse.
It was the end of a two-month-long wait for the speedster, who was India’s top performer with the ball during the trip. Siraj’s father, 53, who was an auto driver, had died on November 20 due to a lung ailment. This was just a week after his son landed in Australia on his maiden tour.
India opener Rohit Sharma at the Mumbai airport yesterday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
He made his Test debut in the second match in Melbourne and finished the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with 13 wickets—the most by any Indian bowler.
T Natarajan landed in Bangalore and then took off for his village in Tamil Nadu’s Salem. Once he reached his native Chinnappampatti village, Natarajan was accorded a festive welcome, complete with garlands and a chariot ride through the streets where people gathered in good numbers to acknowledge the new star.
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