Troubling detail in footage of Indian cricket hero's welcome home

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Thengarasu Natarajan, pictured here being given a hero's welcome home in India.
Thengarasu Natarajan was given a hero's welcome home in India. Images: Supplied

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.

‘GUTLESS’: Photo bites Scott Morrison amid cricket controversy

BRUTAL: Steve Smith axed in stunning $2.5 million blow

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?”

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.

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.

with agencies

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.