Heroes’ welcome for Pakistan cricketers in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s national squad received a heroes welcome in the capital yesterday after defeating archrival India 2-4 in a One-day International series and clinching a 1-1 draw in the Test series.

By (AP)

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Published: Mon 25 Apr 2005, 11:14 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:27 PM

Hundreds of fans lining Islamabad’s main boulevard chanted “Pakistan zindabad!” or “Long live Pakistan!” as their star players drove past in a convoy of cars.

Pakistan pulled back from 2-0 down in the six-match limited-overs series to defeat India 2-4 last week.

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf was a spectator at the last match in New Delhi which Pakistan won by 159 runs.

“We have come here to see our hero Shahid Afridi,” said 15-year-old student Sharaf Din, who proudly wore the name of his favorite cricketer painted across his forehead.

“East or West, Afridi is the best,” agreed Din’s friend, Zaman-ud-din. Afridi scored a second fast one-day international century — off just 45 balls — as Pakistan successfully chased a target of 316 for the loss of six wickets at Kanpur.

Rose petals

“It (the century) was a massacre of Indian bowlers,” another fan, Tanveer Nawaz, said.

Large portraits of all the Pakistan players were displayed along the roadside with the slogan “Hai koi hum jaisa,” meaning “Is there anyone like us?” written atop each portrait.

Supporters threw rose petals onto the procession, led by captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.

But the biggest applause was reserved for Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who grabbed 15 wickets in the one-day series.

Naved, carrying the national flag, stopped to shake hands with his fans.

“Naved made the difference in the series as he took the crucial wicket of Indian opener Virender Sehwag four times,” said Rana Hussain, who brought his four children to witness the victory procession.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed welcomed the triumphant cricketers onto a stage and presented them all with traditional yellow turbans.

“They made us proud by winning the one-day series and all of them deserve credit for this victory,” Ahmed said.

All-rounder Shoaib Malik could not attend the ceremony due to illness.

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