The Alistair Cook-led English cricket team that is set to tour India in a grueling five-match Test series were given a welcome by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. The PM held bilateral discussions with his British counterpart Theresa May in New Delhi. Following this, he made a speech in which he conveyed his good wishes to the visiting English cricket team which will take on India in the first Test in Rajkot.
“I also take this opportunity to convey my best wishes to the English cricket team, who will begin their campaign in Rajkot, Gujarat, day after tomorrow. May the best team win!,” Modi said.
Modi also stated that India and UK share an enduring partnership nurtured by “extensive people to people linkages let’s not forget cricket here”.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup later shared an anecdote on how cricket came into conversation between the two leaders earlier in the day.
“There was also pondering over cricket. As the working lunch was ending, Prime Minister said that ‘I hope you enjoyed this food’. And Theresa May said ‘yes, of course I love it’. Then the Prime Minister said that ‘we have a good cook who does this but the real Cook is coming with the English cricket team’,” Swarup quoted the two leaders as saying.
The Virat Kohli-led India, ranked World No.1, and England are scheduled to play a series of five Tests starting with Rajkot. Both teams come with contrasting fortunes in their previous series. While England drew 1-1 with Bangladesh, India drubbed New Zealand with 3-0 whitewash, a result which took them to the top of the ICC Test rankings. England’s loss against Bangladesh in the second of the two match series was the first ever time that an English team was beaten by Bangladesh in the longest format of the game.