Mumbai's very own DLF Indian Premier League team the - Mumbai Indians - were felicitated at a glittering function at the Taj Mahal Hotel today. Present on the occasion were cricket legend and Mumbai's very own "Little Master" Sunil Gavaskar and renowned cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar and a host of past State cricketers.
In true Maharashtrian tradition, the team members were felicitated and given symbolic Ganesh idols by Smt. Nita Ambani, while Shri Ramakant Achrekar, described as the Dronacharya of Indian cricket, applied a "tilak" from Shivaji Park's mitti on their foreheads.
Led by Sachin Tendulkar, the rest of the Mumbai Indian squad (in alphabetical order), the coach Lalchand Rajput and the support staff walked up to the dais for the honours. Harsha Bhogle, the cricket advisor, was also called upon to receive the honours.
Some of the top test and state cricketers cheered the Mumbai Indians team as they were honored in the true Maharashtrian style. Special cheers went up for the international crickets who donned the Mumbai Indians colours.
Speaking on the occasion, Smt Nita Ambani said, "My presence here today is as a fan and a well-wisher of the Mumbai Indians team. I believe every important campaign has to start on an auspicious note and today we seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha for the entire team and pray that no obstacles come in their path to glory, fame and victory."
Mrs. Ambani further added, "The Mumbai Indians team has an ideal blend of youth and experience and boasts some of the finest and most promising cricketing talent from across the globe"
The team includes likes of stylish south paw Saurabh Tiwary and Manish Pandey, members of the Under-19 World Cup winning Indian squad in Malaysia early this year.
Also assisting Tendulkar in his bid for the inaugural DLF-IPL crown will be Robin Uthappa and Rajesh Pawar, touted as India's next great left-arm spin hope. Donning the Mumbai Indians colours, will be, Ajinkya Rahane and Abhishek Nayar, who besides being a lively medium pacer is capable of crease occupation while hitting the ball hard.
Adding international hues on the youth and talent factor will be young Australian wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi, who has already carved a niche for himself in the international cricket arena, with an enviable strike rate in the Twenty20 version of 179.96, besides hammering the fastest hundred in Australian domestic one-day history.
On the experience brigade, the Mumbai Indians can boast of International talents like aggressive South African all-rounder Shaun Pollock and providing sheer grit though experience and temperament will be Sri Lankan legend, Sanath Jayasuriya undisputedly, the highest run-getter of the island nation.
Supporting the spin combination will be India's most successful off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. Not only will the India international give the Mumbai Indians the winning edge, but the never-say-die Punjab lad's passion is bound to rub off on all the youth playing alongside this spin legend.
The galaxy of international and Indian cricket talent who will make up the winning combination of Mumbai Indians include Ashwell Prince, Loots Bosman, Dilhara Fernando, Ashish Nehra, Domnic Thornely, Gaurav Dhiman, Pinal Shah and Vikrant Yeligati.
Mumbai Masti a special dancing step by Shiamak Davar was introduced on this occasion and Shiamak Davar introduced the official cheerleaders of the Mumbai Indians nicknamed the MI12.