As the spunky 19-year-old returned this morning, almost the entire Liluah and surrounding areas in Howrah district, erupted like never before.
The southpaw opening batsman and stumper was part of the Under-19 Indian team that won the colts World Cup at Kuala Lumpur last Sunday. He finally flew down to Kolkata this morning after a day’s halt in Bangalore, where the team had touched down after the World Cup triumph.
Wild celebrations began as Shreevats walked out of the Kolkata airport in the wee hours. Draped in the national flag, with U-19 teammate and close friend Saurabh Tiwary of Jharkhand alongside, he appeared overawed by the celebrations.
The revelry got wilder as the motorcade reached his neighbourhood. About 10 to 12 motorbikes preceded the open-top jeep. Shreevats stood all the way from the BT Road to Mirpara, waving to the cheering crowds lined up along the road. As his family broke into another round of celebrations, Shreevats was felicitated at a chaotic ceremony at his local club, Mirpara Shakti Sangha.
Although he failed to put up an impressive show in the World Cup final against South Africa at the Kinrara Oval, the gutsy opener had showed character throughout the tournament and carved out two useful half-centuries in the course of the colts’ dream run.
“I am happy that I was part of the team that won the junior World Cup. Winning something like this under the country’s banner is really a great feeling. But from this point on, I have to play even better,” asserted the 19-year-old player. “My goal is now to play in the Ranji Trophy and do well at that level,” said the avid Adam Gilchrist fan.
The young wicket-keeper, who plays for Bhowanipur Club, has drawn praise from Sourav Ganguly. “He’s a good player, I am happy for him. I hope he will keep up the good work,” Ganguly said after returning from Guwahati this morning following the Ranji Trophy East Zone one-day campaign.