T20 World series: Palghar gives open-jeep welcome to Vikrant Keni
T20 world series-winning disabled captain Vikrant Keni gets a hero's welcome in his hometown, Palghar
India's disabled cricket captain Vikrant Keni arrived in Palghar's Kambode village to a hero's welcome yesterday. Keni led India to a 36-run win over England in the Physical Disability T20 World Series final. Yesterday, members of Keni's local club Darya Sarang Cricket Club and his friends organised a victory parade in an open jeep from Panch Marg to Kambode.
The victory parade for Vikrant Keni which began around 4:30pm took a good four hours with loud music and dancing throughout. Every now and then the procession took a pause as people came up to hug their hero.
"This is a pleasant surprise by my DSCC teammates and some of the residents of my village. It's an unforgettable experience. I thank everyone for this wonderful gesture," Keni told mid-day on his arrival home, after spending almost a month away in England. "My elder brothers [Sagar and Vaibhav] were part of the procession but I was eager to meet my parents [mum Malini and dad Ravindra]. I was getting impatient for a while there but the love from everyone is so overwhelming," said Keni, 26, who was immediately ushered into the main temple in Kambode where his family performed a puja. Keni Sr, a fisherman by profession, said he felt as though Diwali has come early. "Though Vikrant has been playing right from his childhood despite being polio-affected, I never expected him to represent the country at the highest level. I am so proud of him. He has made our small village famous," said Ravindra.
Physical Disability cricket captain Vikrant Keni during a procession organised by Darya Sarang Cricket Club and residents of Kambode village in Palghar Tehsil. Pic/Sagar Keni
Middle-order batsman Keni was India's second highest run-getter in the tournament — 115 runs in five matches — second only to Ravindra Sante, who scored 133 runs, also in five games.
Keni also displayed some fine all-round skills, taking six wickets at an economy rate of 5.52 with his medium pace.
DSCC's Gaurav Tamore, Nikhil Keni and Bhavesh Arekar, who planned the victory parade, said they were always confident of Vikrant's cricketing ability. "This is the biggest triumph for our club and village. We were confident that Vikrant and his team will return with the trophy, so began planning this celebration even before India's last league game against Pakistan," said Tamore.
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