West Indies arrive to massive welcome in Barbados

Bridgetown (Barbados), April 6 (IANS) The West Indies Women team and a few players from the men’s champions side arrived to a heroes’ welcome as the country celebrated their clean sweep of the World T20 titles.

The players touched down at the Grantley Adams International Airport here on Tuesday and were met on arrival by Sports Minister Stephen Lashley and Tourism Minister Richard Sealy along with the Barbados Cricket Association president and legendary former fast bowler Joel Garner, reports CMC.

A large number of fans, family and well-wishers were also on hand at the airport to greet the players.

They were feted during a brief function before starting out on a motorcade which took them along the south coast, into the city before winding back to the Accra Beach located on the south coast.

Garner, a member of the World Cup winning squad in 1979, said both teams had brought immense joy to the Caribbean with their achievements.

“We are eternally grateful for the joy and happiness you’ve brought to us and like everything else there has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice put in to your success,” Garner said during the ceremony on Tuesday.

“I don’t think people really understand the hard work you put in to get to where you are and the hard work you put in to get to the end.”

On Sunday, the West Indies Women chased down the highest ever total in a T20 World Cup final to upset three-time defending champions Australia by eight wickets and claim their first ever title.

In the second final, the West Indies Men became the first team to win a World T20 twice when they defeated England by four wickets in a dramatic match.

Lashley hailed the achievement of both teams, noting it was apparent team spirit had played a key role in their success.

“This evening I had the pleasure of greeting all of the members of both the women’s teams and of course the men’s team who came back to Barbados and I was really touched by, not only the excitement, but the team spirit they still carried with them on their shoulders,” Lashley said.

“I believe that team spirit was instrumental in achieving success in the just concluded World series. I believe I speak on behalf of the entire Caribbean family when I say we salute you. We were there at the crease, on the pitch, on the boundary, everywhere literally, as you so carefully crafted that victory.”

Women’s captain Stafanie Taylor said she was overwhelmed by the reception for the team.

“The welcome was good, it was quite surprising. When they told us we had to stay back in the plane, we were wondering what was going on and then coming out to see everybody there it was an overwhelming feeling,” Taylor said.

“We hope that we continue doing great things so we can get these feelings again. I’ve never had a motorcade before, so it’s the first experience so I’m looking forward to it.”

The full women’s team returned while of the men’s side, only Barbadians Sulieman Benn and Ashley Nurse, along with Grenadian Andre Fletcher and Trinidadian Samuel Badree, touched down here.

Several other players flew to their respective home territories from London while the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder and Lendl Simmons remained in India for Saturday’s start of the new Indian Premier League season.

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