New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) acting president CK Khanna welcomed Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s return to the country and appreciated his courageous efforts towards the nation.
“We salute Wing Commander Abhinandan. You have become an integral part of each and every family of this country. BCCI salutes your courage and we believe that coming generations will take inspiration from you. Big thanks to Abhinandan. I wish him good luck and all the blessings for his future life,” Khanna conveyed a message to Abhinandan through ANI.
Minutes after Abhinandan crossed the border and was received by Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army, the BCCI posted a special message for him on their official Twitter handle with the IAF pilot’s name engraved on Team India jersey.
Welcoming the pilot, the BCCI tweeted: “#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan You rule the skies and you rule our hearts. Your courage and dignity will inspire generations to come to #TeamIndia.”
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar also welcomed Abhinandan and tweeted, “A hero is more than just four letters.
Through his courage, selflessness and perseverance, OUR HERO teaches us to have faith in ourselves.
#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan Jai Hind.”
Team India captain Virat Kohli in his Twitter wrote “Real Hero. I bow down to you. Jai Hind”.
Former India coach, Anil Kumble, in a tweet, said: “We salute your bravery #WelcomeHomeAbhinandan.”
On Wednesday, Wing Commander Abhinandan, while flying the MiG 21 Bison, was chasing Pakistani F-16 fighters, which had transgressed into the Indian airspace, and in the process, his plane crossed over to Pakistani side and was shot down. He ejected safely but was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army upon landing. Before his plane was shot, he had hit a Pakistani F-16.
On March 1, wearing a blue blazer and grey ‘khaki’ trouser, he crossed over into India from Attari-Wagah border at 9:20 pm. He was handed over by the Pakistan Rangers to the BSF following paperwork.
Wing Commander Abhinandan was accompanied by an officer of the Pakistan Foreign Office and Indian Defence Attaché Group Captain Joy Thomas Kurien.