Nagpur: After its maiden win in Ranji Trophy finals, team Vidarbha touched the homeland on Wednesday amid rousing welcome. The team members were merrily received by the top office bearers of Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) at Nagpur airport. A crowd gathered just a few meters away from the departure gate of the Nagpur airport anxiously scanning the sliding doors. The proud father of Vidarbha captain Faiz was trying to capture the most memorable moment of his life for eternity.
Nearby, stood an aged figure waiting for his prodigal grandson. Several years ago he was a noted Marathi cricket commentator. The experience of many years of working with AIR failed him as he couldn’t summon up words to express his emotions.
“My son is bedridden for last 25 years. I’m almost 83. The happiness that my grandson Aditya has given me…I just can’t express it in words,” Shyam Sarvate said, voice drowning in the beats of dhol-tasha and eyes moist with the unexpected bliss coming his way so late in life.
The dhol-tasha was arranged by a group of friends. They were the other extreme of the crowd that gathered to welcome their heroes. Young and carefree, they let loose their emotions with wild dancing in honour of their friend Apoorv Wankhade.
In the middle, breaking into an occasional jig was Ravindra Kulkarni. He was the odd man out in the group with his greying hair. The head of the sports department of Saraswati Vidyalaya, nearing 50, Kulkarni couldn’t hide his joy as he kept waiting for his most celebrated ward Faiz.
The Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) was represented by president Anand Jaiswal. He reached the airport almost an hour before the scheduled arrival of the Mumbai flight. Vice president Prashant Vaidya, secretary BS Bhatti, Sharad Padhye and others were present too. Mayor Nanda Jichkar, NMC sports committee chairman Nagesh Sahare, district sport officer Avinash Pund, city chief of BJYM Shivani Dani too were present.
Their wait was extended by a few hours due to cancellation of flights from Mumbai. The team was scheduled to arrive at 4.50pm. But the flight was cancelled due to the disturbance in the wake of the Maharashtra bandh. VCA officials then booked the 6.50pm flight for the team’s journey from Mumbai.
The senior Fazal’s attempt to capture the memorable moment was thwarted by the security personnel. They pushed the crowd, along with the families of the history-makers, away from the departure gate.
Though Yakub abided to the orders of the airport security, there was no holding back for Rosina. The three-and-half-year-old was back at the railing, trying to climb over it. Perhaps, she wanted to be the first one to have a glimpse of her super dad. The Faiz family towed behind Rosina as they reoccupied their place at the front of the crowd.
As the dhol-tasha noise reached a crescendo the team finally appeared at the gate. The first one to exit was Siddhesh Neral. The medium pacer, the most fun-loving character in the team full of shy personalities, broke into a dance to the tune of dhol.
The rest of the team followed. Nobody doing much other than just flashing smiles and waving hands. The last one to come out was Faiz with a replica of the Ranji Trophy in his hand. Mobbed by photographers, he was whisked away by the security towards the team bus.