Incredible scenes in the tiny Indian village where Thangarasu Natarajan lives have sparked a timely reminder about COVID-19.
India’s victorious cricketers arrived home on Thursday night after their extraordinary Test series victory in Australia.
A number of players received a hero’s welcome upon their arrivals home, including rookie sensation Thengarasu Natarajan.
The left-arm paceman wasn’t originally included in India’s Test squad, but stayed in Australia as a net bowler after playing in the T20 series.
However the 29-year-old was brought into India’s side for the fourth and final Test due to the tourists’ unprecedented injury crisis.
And not only did he help India end Australia’s 32-year undefeated streak at the Gabba, he played a starring role.
Hundreds of people lined the streets in Chinnappampatti, Salem, as Natarajan arrived home on Thursday.
While the incredible scenes were widely celebrated on social media, many noted that there was a distinct lack of social-distancing and face masks were scarce.
Natarajan was wearing gloves and a mask, but not many others did likewise.
Cricket writer Chris Stocks tweeted: “In normal times these scenes would be great but now?”
In normal times these scenes would be great but now? Reminder England's series in India starts in 16 days https://t.co/58akKm2Umf
— Chris Stocks (@StocksC_cricket) January 21, 2021
Covid doesn't exist it seems?...
— Two Bissaka ⚪ (@Mike_Khan9) January 21, 2021
— Siddhesh Dhume (@SiddheshDhume) January 21, 2021
Foolish peopel, Covid doesn't exist it seems???
— Spiritual Traveler (@anandhuvnair) January 21, 2021
COVID be damned :)
— Venkatesh CP (@venkateshcp) January 21, 2021
Jeez, spare some thought for COVID.
— Nithin Gregory (@ngrsonline) January 21, 2021
India was recorded more than 10 million cases of coronavirus and more than 153,000 deaths.
Indian cricketers celebrated on arrival home
Captain Ajinkya Rahane, coach Ravi Shastri, star batsman Rohit Sharma, pacer Shardul Thakur and opener Prithvi Shaw all landed in Mumbai on Thursday, while Brisbane Test hero Rishabh Pant arrived in Delhi.
On arrival in Mumbai, Rahane, Shastri, Rohit, Shardul and Shaw were felicitated by Mumbai Cricket Association officials, including President Vijay Patil and Apex Council members Ajinkya Naik, Amit Dani and Umesh Khanvilka.
Rahane also cut a cake to celebrate the team’s win.
However the mood was sombre in Hyderabad as Mohammed Siraj headed straight to his father’s grave.
India's hero Mohammed Siraj paying homage at the grave of his father who passed away when he was on Australia tour.
Siraj went straight from the airport to his father's grave whose dream was that his son played for the country.🇮🇳@atahasnain53 @MohammadKaif @VVSLaxman281 pic.twitter.com/5fpiEqGPrh
— Suraj Kaul (@surajkaul4) January 21, 2021
Siraj, who decided to stay in Australia after hearing of his father’s death, drove straight from Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport to the graveyard and paid his last respects.
It was the end of a two-month long wait for the bowler, who was India’s top performer with the ball during the series.
Siraj's 53-year-old father, who was an auto driver, died on November 20 due to a lung ailment - just a week after his son landed in Australia.
He was given the option of returning home but decided otherwise, breaking down in tears when the national anthem was played before the Sydney Test.
He made his Test debut in the second match in Melbourne and finished the Border-Gavaskar series with 13 wickets - the most by any Indian bowler.
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