Gautam Gambhir's three Bengali words "ami Kolkata r chele (I am son of the city)' won the hearts of fans gathered at NSC Bose International airport to welcome 'home' the Kolkata Knight Riders' players, who beat two-time defending champion Chennai Super Kings to be crowned new IPL champions.
Thousands of fans danced to drum beats and cheered the team, which arrived at 10.30 PM, for their maiden IPL success after five seasons.
The state ministers welcomed the team members with bouquets and garlands on a makeshift stage near the VIP gate No 5, close to the international terminal of the airport in Dum Dum.
Team CEO Venky Mysore hailed Gambhir and coach Trevor Bayliss for the success. "Gambhir has done a fantastic job as a leader so was our coach...I am proud of the team. Thank you Kolkata for all the support," he said.
The fans waited patiently for their triumphant team members to arrive as their flight was delayed by more than two hours. A makeshift stage was erected just outside the gate to welcome KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan and players, who arrived in two batches.
Slogans like 'Three cheers for KKR, hip hip hurrah', 'KKR. KKR', 'Shah Rukh. Shah Rukh' rent the air as fans dressed in KKR jersey and carrying purple flags gathered at the airport. Many had come with lifesize posters of Shah Rukh Khan and team captain Gautam Gambhir. There were also posters with congratulatory messages.
Eden Gardens, Kolkata ,5/24/2013, 20:00 (IST)
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad ,5/19/2013, 20:00 (IST)
Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi ,5/21/2013, 20:00 (IST)
Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi ,5/22/2013, 20:00 (IST)
Afghanistan international and Mumbai FC skipper Haroon Amiri told in.com that it was fortunate that Indian football had not been tainted in this manner so far.
IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla and BCCI vice-President Arun Jaitley met Law Minister Kapil Sibal, demanding that a strong anti-fixing legislation be "enacted as soon as possible".
Calling the IPL spot-fixing scandal unfortunate, former India football captain Baichung Bhutia said betting should be legalised in the country to stop corruption in cricket.
India's under-19 cricket team will play a triangular series against Australia and New Zealand starting June 30 in Darwin.
N Srinivasan's position as BCCI chief has never been under threat until now.
In a bid to increase competition and give "better incentives" to the players, the All India Football Federation plans to add four more teams to the existing 14 in the I-League next season.
Victoria Azarenka is now a more focused two-time Grand Slam tournament winner and awaiting the clay courts at Roland Garros