Mumbai: A day in the life of world champions

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Mumbai Mirror

Mumbai, 03 April 2011: It’s midnight, and an hour has passed since Mahendra Singh Dhoni lifted the trophy at the Wankhede.


They’ve been messing around on the field for a while, Yuvraj Singh lying flat on his stomach on the pitch, Dhoni sitting on top of him posing with his winner’s medal. Being an Indian cricketer means being in the limelight 24/7.What, then, does being an Indian cricketer who has just won a World Cup mean? Over the next 24 hours, the team will find out.



1.15 am

The Taj Hotel’s lobby has never been so crammed. Outside on the streets, every white bus is being cheered on its way - even one in which the only people riding are a perplexed driver and his sleepy sidekick.


As Dhoni’s troops swagger in, hooting and screaming, a tremendous roar goes up in the lobby. The trophy is in Yuvraj’s hands - as it was when on the ride from the Wankhede. It’s unlikely the man who collected four Man of the Match awards in the tournament will let go any time soon.


The Taj guests, and staff, are going nuts, clicking pictures, recording videos that they hope to sell to news channels. Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh are the first to oblige them with autographs.


1.30 am

There’s a huge cake waiting them, but they’re hungrier than that. The BCCI orders a lavish spread - Thai curry, chicken rice, burnt chilly rice, omelettes, Mexican curry, a couple of traditional Punjabi curries and, for those still watching their weight on a night like this, a fruit salad.


The tab, the food tasters appointed for the team tell us, comes to Rs 4 lakh. This one’s on Sachin?



The players decide it’s time for them to bond a bit. Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh uncork the bubbly near the staircase at the lobby, before the players and their families head to the sixth floor. The party, now, has well and truly begun.



Sachin Tendulkar, playing for India since he was 16, realising his dream at 37, decides he needs some alone time.


He leaves with his wife Anjali and kids Arjun and Sara - who had also taken a round with their dad on on the Wankhede turf a few hours ago. What a night for them!



The rest of the players come down to the Shamiana restaurant, where a few high-profile fans are waiting, including Aamir Khan.


Their low-calorie diets have been shelved for the night. You don’t win a World Cup every day - more like once every 28 years.


6.30 am

Even the youngest members of the team decide it’s time to hit the sack - most of the city has by this time as well. And the revellers Marine Lines haven’t even been criss-crossing the country for a month-and-a-half.


Only a few hours ago, Dhoni had revealed how intense the pressure had been. "The players were not even eating well because of anxiety. Not pressure, but anxiety.


There would be food in front of you but you wouldn’t feel like eating it," he said. And Yuvraj Singh, the skipper disclosed, had been vomiting a lot over the last month-and-a-half.


1.00 pm

A few of the revellers have woken up. The team has decided to skip breakfast and lunch; tea, fruit juice and light snacks will do just fine (Don’t we know the feeling).


In a few hours, they’ve got a tea appointment with the President, the first of many felicitations they’ll be attending over the next few days.


2.30 pm

The Taj lobby is buzzing. Sachin and Dhoni walk down, suited up for an official ICC photo-shoot. Yuvraj is there too, in a striped T-shirt, with his Man of the Tournament trophy. One by one, they pose in front of the Gateway of India. The shutterbugs are going crazy.


4 pm

The rest of the team are coming down one by one. Left-hander Gautam Gambhir, the unsung hero of the chase against Lanka, is the first one down.


Virat Kohli follows. The two of them pose for pictures with fans who have managed to go past the tight security to make it to the lobby.


4.50 pm

The team bus arrives at Raj Bhavan, where the who’s who of Mumbai - and President Pratibha Patil - are waiting. Half-an-hour later, they walk out on to the lawns - cue photographers charging towards them, running over anyone in the way.


One of those scurrying to get out of the way is Sharad Pawar. This time, no one’s going to steal their thunder.


8 pm

After the function, the team head back to the hotel. There won’t be a 2007-esque open-top bus ride soon, as a few players have decided to head in different directions.


Suresh Raina is planning to head-off to Shirdi, while the Delhi contingent has booked themselves on flights back on Monday. It’s been a long day, strenuous even. But even they will know that this is just the beginning.



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