Australia’s World Cup winners have been denied a full-scale heroes’ welcome home by a packed cricket schedule that sees them face India on Thursday at the start of a T20I series, four days after meeting in the ODI final.
The stunning six-wicket victory on Sunday, against previously unbeaten India in front of nearly 100,000 partisan fans in Ahmedabad, saw Australia lift the ODI World Cup for the sixth time.
But celebrations had to be scaled back by the demands of the international cricket calendar.
Seven members of the triumphant ODI squad will remain for the five-match T20I series, including Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith and Travis Head, who scored a century in the final.
That meant a low-key return for the rest of the ODI squad as they flew home in dribs and drabs, with smiling captain Pat Cummins among those landing in Australia on Wednesday.
It was a far cry from some of the raucous ticker-tape parades enjoyed by victorious Australian cricket teams of yesteryear.
“We’ve all split off our own different ways, there’s T20s coming up, some guys are on aeroplanes at the moment getting home as well,” wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey told reporters on arrival home in Adelaide.
“It’s probably pretty odd scheduling now that you look at it, to win a World Cup and a few days later you’re playing again.”
India have named an almost completely different squad for the series, which starts in Visakhapatnam and then goes to four different venues, concluding in Bengaluru on 3 December.
Suryakumar Yadav will captain for the first time, in the absence of Rohit Sharma, and is one of only three players retained from India’s World Cup squad.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan was much less diplomatic than Carey about the prospect of India and Australia meeting again so soon.
After Australia’s veteran opener David Warner withdrew from the series on Tuesday, Vaughan wrote on social media: “As all the players who won the World Cup should. They should have been pulled out to allow them time to recover but importantly get back to Oz to enjoy the celebrations.”
Vaughan, who is now a high-profile pundit, was even more forthright last week, calling the series “complete greed and overkill”.
“Why can’t we allow players the chance to have a moment’s rest after a World Cup or whoever wins the chance to celebrate properly for a couple of weeks,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The World Cup trophy has remained in India and will not be reunited with captain Cummins – who has this year also guided Australia to win the World Test Championship and retain the Ashes – until next week, The Age newspaper said.
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