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Gloomy November 19 To Jubilant July 4: Journey Of Team India’s Two Meetings With PM Narendra Modi

The last time the Indian men’s cricket team shared the room with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was the Ahmedabad dressing room filled with an atmosphere of gloom, heartbreak and distraught, but today, as the same team met PM Modi at his residence, it was a surreal display of pride and joy. The former meeting took place in the Indian team’s dressing room on November 19, last year, as the Men in Blue after 10 dominating victories failed to cross the final hurdle against Australia in the ODI World Cup at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium.

The defeat had left the entire nation heartbroken, as India had not just lost a World Cup after such an unprecedented show of dominance, but it once again fell short on the home turf, against arch-rivals Australia, a team that had already given plenty of heartbreaks to India in the 75-something years of rivalry.

As the wait for the next ICC trophy — after the Champions Trophy win in 2013 — crossed a decade, the teary-eyed players left for their dressing rooms after post-match presentations, to completely express their emotions after once again despite giving their best, they fell short of the finishing line.

During these heartbreaking moments, PM Modi came to cheer up the nation’s most cherished and beloved group of boys. He went to each player one by one, shaking their hands or hugging them, comforting them with his words, and asking them to keep their morale up.

He went to Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, two of the country’s biggest cricketing superstars, consoling them by saying “It happens, you have won 10 games straight” and urged them to keep each other’s morale up.

The two legends didn’t know then, they would be standing in a completely different position a few months later.

Fast forward to 2024, and times have changed for good. From gloomy, depressed faces after a defeat at Ahmedabad, Men in Blue returned to India as undefeated T20 champions of the world, battling different and difficult opponents, conditions, pitches, and match situations on their way towards the championship trophy.

The players’ faces are filled with pride, jubilation and joy. There is a sense of relief to have finally secured a World Cup as a group, which includes stars like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, and head coach Rahul Dravid, whose journey towards immortality and greatness was stopped by Australia just seven months ago.

The promise made to the nation was finally fulfilled in the Caribbean, which was, interestingly, the place where one of the most heartbreaking chapters of Indian cricket was written back in 2007: A first-round exit in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.

It was after this humiliating exit under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy that Men in Blue went on to win the T20 World Cup (2007), ICC Cricket World Cup (2011) and ICC Champions Trophy (2013) back-to-back-to-back under MS Dhoni to complete a memorable white-ball cricket treble. Dravid, then the captain, finally returned back home with his first big trophy in international cricket, as a coach.

After their T20 WC triumph, players were seen laughing, and interacting joyously with the Prime Minister, as they talked about the tournament. Prime Minister posed for a picture with the entire team of players and coaches, holding the trophy along with skipper Rohit and coach Dravid.

During their meeting with the Prime Minister, the ‘Men in Blue’ wore a special jersey sporting two stars over the BCCI’s emblem. The stars represented the two T20 World Cup wins. The word ‘CHAMPIONS’ was written on the jersey in bold letters.

Earlier today, the T20 World Cup-winning Indian team touched down in the national capital, to a warm welcome from fans, who were eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of their favourite heroes and the trophy.

The winning team along with the support staff, their families, and the media were stuck in Barbados, as the island nation was hit by Hurricane Beryl. Finally, they boarded the special flight organised by BCCI Secretary Jay Shah on Wednesday.

Team India reached the ITC Maurya Hotel, where they also cut a special cake featuring the T20 World Cup trophy to celebrate the historic win.

As many winning teams do across all sports, the Rohit-led side is scheduled to have an open-top bus ride in Mumbai at Marine Drive and the iconic Wankhede Stadium from 5:00 pm onwards to celebrate an occasion, the nation has witnessed after 13 long years.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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