Sarfraz Ahmed led Pakistan to maiden Champions Trophy title    Getty Images
Sarfraz Ahmed led Pakistan to maiden Champions Trophy title Getty Images

Hundreds of fans gave Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed a hero’s welcome as he arrived home carrying the Champions Trophy early on Tuesday. Men, women and children packed Karachi airport as Sarfraz returned from England, where Pakistan thrashed arch-rivals India to be crowned surprise winners. Sarfraz held up the trophy to loud cheers and chants of “Long live Sarfraz!” as a police band played patriotic songs nearby. “(We won) thanks to Allah and the prayers of the whole nation,” Sarfraz said in brief comments as he jostled his way through the crowd of well-wishers. Pakistan’s victory by 180 runs on Sunday has sparked widespread celebrations in the country, where cricket is the number one sport. READ: Sarfraz Ahmed urges teams to tour Pakistan after winning ICC Champions Trophy 2017

Sarfraz was showered with bouquets and given a traditional skull cap and an ‘ajrak’ shawl, which is usually presented as a mark of honour. Senior local officials also turned up to greet the captain before he was whisked away under escort by police commandos along with team-mate Rumman Raees. Sarfraz’s residential block in central Karachi was adorned with colourful lights and Pakistan flags, while fans climbed on rooftops and balconies to watch him return home.

Pakistan had a fairy-tale run in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 as they started with a big defeat to India and then went on to remain unbeaten and finish as the winners of the tournament. This was Pakistan’s first ICC 50-overs tournament win since their successful World Cup campaign in 1991. Team’s Hasan Ali received the player of the tournament award.