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World Cup glory a vindication for India cricket legends

By Cherylann Mollan, BBC News

Indians are continuing to celebrate their cricket team’s triumph at the T20 World Cup, which is being seen as a fitting tribute to some of the game’s top players.

India defeated South Africa by seven runs in Barbados on Saturday to bring home a World Cup after a 13-year-long wait.

Fans celebrated on the streets after the game and have been posting heartfelt tributes to the team on social media.

But they say the victory is bitter-sweet, with three of India’s top cricketers – Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Ravindra Jadeja – announcing their retirement from the format after the game.

Many X users called Kohli’s and Sharma’s retirement “the end of an era” while others said they had achieved the status of legends in the sport.

Cricketing great Sachin Tendulkar joined in praising the two players.

“Your unwavering commitment and exceptional talent have brought immense pride to the nation,” he wrote about Sharma on X. Of Kohli, he said, “You may have had a rough time earlier in the tournament, but last night you proved why you’re truly one of the greats of the gentleman’s game”.

Saturday’s win was a moment of redemption for Sharma after his team lost the 50-over World Cup final eight months ago to Australia.

After winning 10 matches in a row, the team suffered a shocking defeat in the final. Rohit led from the front throughout the tournament but couldn’t take his team over the line in the final.

And that is why the T20 Cup is so special for him. It matters even more because this was most likely his last shot at winning a World Cup as a captain.

He will be 40 by the time the next tournament is held, and most players retire before reaching that age.

The gravity of the moment and the significance of the victory were evident on Sharma’s face, as he stepped away for a moment of quiet reflection before joining the team in their wild celebrations.

A day later, he shared an emotional post on X where he posted a photo of himself sprawled out on the ground with his teammates surrounding him.

“This picture epitomises how I’m feeling right now. So many words but can’t find the right ones to express what yesterday meant to me but I will, and I will share them, but right now I’m basking in a dream come true for a billion of us,” he wrote.

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