President Pratibha Patil, Indian team members, leaders and other dignitaries pose with the World Cup trophy during a reception hosted by Ms. Patil, at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on Sunday.


Having carried the burden of expectations of a billion people, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni lightened his burden by shaving off his head soon after vanquishing Sri Lanka in the World Cup final, to fulfill a pledge to the gods.


Dhoni surprised the world with his tonsured head this morning, having shaved off the hair in the middle of the night in his hotel room here.


Dhoni is believed to have made a commitment to do so before a deity close to his hometown in Ranchi before the World Cup began. The priest had advised him to shave off the head between 2.45am and 3am which is what he did.


The hair will now be offered at the Balaji temple in Tirupati.


Dhoni’s new look was first seen during an official photo-op session in front of the iconic Gateway of India, where some members of the Indian cricket team posed for shutterbugs with World Cup trophy.


Incidentally, Dhoni had cut his long locks after India won the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007.






The Karnataka government would allot free housing sites in Bangalore to each of the 15 members of the Indian cricket squad that won the World Cup, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa announced on Sunday.


It is a joyous occasion for the entire country. We are proud of the Indian cricket team for winning the World Cup after 28 years. In recognition of their achievement, the state government will gift free sites measuring 372 square metres (4,000 square feet) in Bangalore soon to all the 15 cricketers," a beaming Yeddyurappa told reporters here.


The documents will be presented to the 15 team members at a special function the state government will hold at the imposing Vidhana Soudha at the earliest.


"We will also honour and suitably reward the coach (Gary Kirsten) and the team’s support staff for enabling India win the World Cup by comprehensively beating Sri Lanka in Mumbai Saturday. It was an exciting match to watch," Yeddyurappa said.


The government plans to get in touch with the team through the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to organise the function in Bangalore on a date convenient to them after the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL).


"The chief minister has only announced the reward. Details will be worked out. The state-run Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) will be asked to identify the sites, preferably in one location, for preparing and registering the documents," a senior official told IANS.


Yeddyurappa, a keen follower of the game, especially when India plays, watched the final live at his residence in the company of his family members and a couple of his cabinet colleagues.


"The chief minister watched the match during the second half when India was batting and remained glued to the live telecast till skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit the winning six," the official said.


Yeddyurappa also watched the semifinal between India and Pakistan at Mohali March 30.

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