Indian cricket team stranded by Hurricane Beryl in Barbados returns home to hero’s welcome

The Indian men’s cricket team arrived to a colourful welcome in capital Delhi on Thursday after being stranded in Barbados due to the Hurricane Beryl.

Led by Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, the men’s team on Sunday won the T20 World Cup against South Africa in a nail-biter that broke a 12-year unsuccessful streak.

The team was eagerly expected after being stranded for three days in the Caribbean nation due to the Category 4 hurricane which passed through Barbados early Monday morning, causing heavy storm and high winds in the region.

The hurricane then made landfall on nearby Carriacou Island late Monday morning, bringing “catastrophic” 150mph winds and “life-threatening storm surge” to the Windward Islands, according to the National Weather Service.

Despite overcast weather in Delhi, the mood on the team’s arrival from Barbados was lifted by dhol beats, flower bouquets and cakes bearing the winning team’s photos.

An enthused squadron of over a dozen players, coaches, and their families were expected to fly home on a charter flight but were unable to do so earlier this week as airports were shut since Sunday evening.

Flight-tracking website Flightradar24 showed that the Air India flight with the World Cup champions was the most tracked plane on late Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Captain Rohit Sharma held up the World Cup trophy after arriving at the New Delhi International Airport as supporters waved the Indian national flag and chanted the country’s name.

The cricketers were then taken to meet prime minister Narendra Modi at his residence in New Delhi.

They are due to fly to Mumbai to participate in an open bus roadshow, followed by a celebration ceremony later on Thursday at the local Wankhede Stadium.

“We want to enjoy this special moment with all of you. So let’s celebrate this win with a victory parade at Marine Drive & Wankhede on July 4th from 5pm onwards. It’s coming home,” said Sharma on social media.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has announced a cash bonus of 1.25bn rupees ($15m) for the winning squad. This is the Indian men’s cricket team’s fourth World Cup win – bagging the ODI trophies in 1983 and 2011 and the T20 World Cups in 2007 and 2024.

At the post-match presentation, Sharma, 37, and Virat Kohli, 35, both announced their retirement from the format.

The duo are the two top run-scorers in the history of T20 internationals, both boasting over 4,000 runs, and they picked their moment of shared triumph to leave the stage.