**Bhubaneswar:** A sea of fans thronged the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) to extend a hero’s welcome to the national cricket team arriving from Vishakhapatnam after winning the back-to-back test and one-day international series against Sri Lanka.
The fans, with ‘Team India’ posters made a beeline from BPIA to AG Square with some carrying children on their shoulders, to get a glimpse of their favourite team which recently clinched its eighth consecutive bilateral series win at home since June 2016.
The frenzied cricket fans welcomed the cricketers by dancing at drumbeats and performing antiques at the BPIA. The team scored an emphatic, eight-wicket win against the Lankans in the third and final one-dayer to clinch the three-match series 2-1.
The Sri Lankan team also arrived in the same flight which landed on Monday afternoon. India will meet the Islanders in the opening T20 match at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Wednesday evening. The two teams were escorted to Hotel Mayfair in two separate buses, amidst tight security.
More than a dozen police vans were deployed in the convoy of the cricket teams when they commuted through the five odd kilometre stretch from BPIA to Mayfair. The hotel has been sanitised with elaborate security arrangements to ensure safe and secure stay of the players for over three days in the State Capital.
As many as 80 rooms have been booked to accommodate the players, coach, managers, and support staff of both the teams and BCCI officials.
“The hotel administration and staff are fully prepared and excited to serve the national team,” Mayfair Executive Director Souvagya Mohapatra said.
The hotel premises, specifically the restaurants, indoor game courts, jogging track, swimming pool and gymnasium have been decked up to cater to the requirements of the ‘special guests.’
“Mayfair has been hosting cricket teams for long now and the chefs are well acquainted with the diet specifications and restrictions of sportspersons,” added Mohapatra.