Fans angry after being shunned by victorious Pak team

Fans angry after being shunned by victorious Pak team

Pakistani cricket fans celebrate their country's team victory in the final of Twenty20 World Cup against Sri Lanka on Monday,

The fans, who danced to drum beats and raised slogans while waiting for hours at and outside the airport to welcome the T20 World Cup winners, got a rude shock when they learnt that the players were taken away to the National Cricket Academy from a side entrance.

A senior police official said the decision to not bring out the players from the main lounge was due to security reasons.

"It was part of our plan B. They were too many people at the airport and it would have been a security risk bringing the players out from the main entrance," the official said.

Even at the National Academy a heavy contingent of police was present as crowd waited for hours to greet and garland their players, who were taken away to their homes in heavy security cover.
The media was also not allowed to interact or get close to the players at the airport or at the national academy.

"I just don't understand what sort of behavior is this. We have waited for hours to welcome our players who have given us so much joy in these hard times and as always the police has to spoil our celebrations," an irate fan said.

Another fan, who had come from Gujranwala to take part in the celebrations, said it was the police's responsibility to ensure to top security measures for the players.
"What threat is there to the players from all these people who have come to greet their heroes. This is unaccepted and a joke with us," another fan said.
A senior board official said that the strong security arrangements were put into place because of the recent suicide bomb attacks in Lahore.
"We feel sorry for the fans but we couldn't take any security risks. We didn't want any security lapses because this is very big occasion for every Pakistani," he said.

The team, which returned sans captain Younis Khan, star allrounder Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam and Abdul Razzaq, was whisked away to the National Cricket Academy from the old Haj terminal.
Younis, Afridi and Alam are scheduled to reach Karachi their hometown tomorrow while Razzaq has stayed back in London for some personal work.
The reception accorded to the players was reminiscent of the victory parade organised for the Pakistan team when it returned after winning the 1992 World Cup and after winning the 1987 Test series from India.
No former player or senior politician was present at the airport to welcome the players but despite the late hours of the players arrival, their fans including women and children thronged to the airport to greet their heroes who won the Twenty20 World Cup against the odds on Sunday by beating Sri Lanka in the final.
It was Pakistan's first World Cup win after the 1992 triumph in Australia.

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