Flying high with the T20 World Champions – An experience of a lifetime

Indian media in the flight back to India (Image: Debasis Sen)

For those 22 representatives of the Indian media, it was an opportunity of a lifetime to travel in the same flight that carried the players of the Indian team, who in turn had just emerged triumphant in the T20 World Cup.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah should be credited for taking an initiative to organise a chartered flight carrying the Indian team along with the media representatives who were also stranded in Barbados.

Following a four-day wait due to harsh weather conditions (Hurricane Beryl and its aftereffects) in Barbados, the Indian cricket board requested Air India to arrange a charter flight for the national team’s safe return.

The special flight was scheduled to take off from the Grantley Adams airport in Bridgetown, Barbados on July 2, at around 6pm. It was supposed to arrive at the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi, at 7:45pm, on July 3. But the flight got rescheduled to July 3, 4:30am.

Debasis Sen (Mama) to us all! Photos say a thousand words. @debasissen @ishaanshahane11 @kannandelhi @gargiraut15 @BoriaMajumdar

— RevSportz Global (@RevSportzGlobal) July 4, 2024

Accordingly, the representatives of Indian media who were stranded in the island for the last three days after the final, were asked to complete the check-in formalities by 2:00. The Indian players and support staff arrived at the airport in Barbados, at around 2:30 am, from the Hilton hotel. The special Air India Boeing 777 flight finally took off at 5am local time.

There was a special announcement from the captain, welcoming the T20 World Champions Indian team on board. During the next 16-hour journey, it was an experience of a lifetime. Initially seated in business class, several players, including captain Rohit Sharma, vice-captain Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant and Rahul Dravid, paid a visit to the economy class to mingle with the Indian media representatives on board. The cricketers and support staff were gracious, obliging the requests of the media representatives to sign an autograph and posing for photos.

Rohit and vice-captain Hardik Pandya took some time for an informal chat with the media representatives on board. The Indian captain will be travelling to London with his family soon for holidaying.

The best part of the journey was the journalists and photographers were allowed to pose with the T20 World Cup trophy. The players too were seen being filmed with the trophy and a video of which has already been uploaded by BCCI on its social media handles.

Upon landing in New Delhi, the players and staff were escorted to the ITC Maurya Hotel before their scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Modi at his residence. Subsequently, Rohit and his boys were flown to Mumbai, where a celebratory roadshow from Nariman Point to the Wankhede Stadium took place, allowing fans to celebrate their victory in an open bus parade on Marine Drive.

This journey encapsulated both the celebration of the Indian team’s victory and the camaraderie among the players, underscored by gestures of appreciation towards the media and moments of personal interaction, making it a memorable experience.

Reflecting on India’s journey in the #T20WorldCup2024!

They kicked off with a win against Ireland, remained unbeaten throughout, ended the ICC trophy drought, and culminated in an electrifying victory parade in Mumbai.@tribes_social_ @BoriaMajumdar #TeamIndia #victoryparade

— RevSportz Global (@RevSportzGlobal) July 5, 2024


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