The chorus says 'praise the boys'

Published: Friday, April 16, 2004, 23:46 [IST]
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New Delhi :"The whole nation is proud of you," President A P J Abdul Kalam told the Indian cricket team on Friday as the nation erupted into joy on its historic Test series win over arch-rivals Pakistan.

"My hearty congratulations to all of you on this historic and fantastic win that you have registered in the just-concluded cricket series in Pakistan", he said in a message to Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and his boys who made history by winning the three-match Test series in Pakistan.

"This has been made possible by admirable team effort", Kalam said adding the "whole nation is proud of you."

Kalam's message summed up the mood in the country that went into celebratory mood as soon as India clinched the third Test in Rawalpindi for their first-ever series win on Pakistan soil. Cricket fans were seen bursting crackers in several parts of the country and distributed sweets to cherish the special moment.

Congratulatory messages poured in from every corner of the country with cricket administrators, former players and common men all choosing the occasion to wish the team for the historic win.

Congratulating the Indian cricket team on winning the cricket series against Pakistan, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday said, "it is a victory of teamwork, determination and a will to win".

In a message, the Prime Minister also congratulated the people of Pakistan, especially the spectators and players for display of "unique warmth and sportsmanship" in all the matches, which the series "truly historic and memorable".

Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani said the One-day and the Test series a lot of "expectations and goodwill" and ended with a happy note.

"This is a dream come true for the Indian players and the people of the country," he said in a message to the Indian team.

In Kolkata, the hometown of Sourav Ganguly, fans and cricket lovers entered the streets as soon as Danish Kaneria was dismissed. The fans waved the tri-colour and congratulated each other.

In the capital, Man of the Series Virender Sehwag's home at Najafgarh was thronged by neighbours who congratulated the cricketer's family members.

Sports Minister Vikram Verma and Lok Sabha Speaker Murli Manohar Joshi and a host of leaders joined the chorus in congratulating the team.

"The Indian team has not only won the Test series, but also the hearts of people of Pakistan," Joshi said in an obvious reference to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's advice to the team before it left for Pakistan last month.

"The series will definitely help in building in people to people contact between India and Pakistan," he said.

In Kolkata, Union Minister Mamata Banerjee said "I congratulate Sourav Ganguly and the other members of the team who have attained success through hard work, discipline and a never say die attitude."

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