Wednesday 26 September 2007 

India's Twenty20 Heroes Return Home To Huge Welcome

India's triumphant Twenty20 World Cup squad arrived home on Wednesday to a massive victory parade with hundreds of thousands of joyous fans braving rain to cheer their heroes.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team mates were greeted by the region's chief minister at Mumbai's airport before being taken on an open-top bus to the Wankhede stadium for a reception hosted by the national cricket board.

Elaborate security measures were in place on the 35- kilometre journey through busy Mumbai roads, with giant hoardings on display to congratulate the surprise winners.

India beat arch-rivals Pakistan by five runs in a thrilling final in Johannesburg on Monday, a victory to compare with their upset 1983 World Cup final win over West Indies.

The players danced and waved to cheering crowds as police on motorcycles led the way with traffic jams reported at many points along the route.

The Indian board has announced a win bonus of $3 million (1.5 million pounds) and a special cash award for batsman Yuvraj Singh, who hit six sixes in one over in a match against England.

All leading TV channels showed live coverage of the parade which will culminate with the Wankhede stadium function in front of over 20,000 spectators.

Most players will immediately return to the squad for the seven-match one-day series against Australia which starts on Saturday.

© Reuters 2007