The Office of Indian High Commission has on Wednesday, February 19, hosted the visiting Indian Cricket Team for a community reception at the India House in Lower Hutt, Wellington.
Speaking on occasion High Commissioner of India to New Zealand, Muktesh Pardeshi expressed his joy and excitement for hosting the ‘Men in Blue’ along with the team officials from BCCI.
Present at the event were Hon Consul of India in Auckland, Bhav Dhillon, Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson, Mayor of Wellington Andy Foster, former Governor-General of New Zealand Sir Anand Satyanand, MPs Kanwaljit Bakshi, Dr Parmjeet Parmar, Priyanca Radhakrishnan among other community leaders and guests.
High Commissioner Muktesh Pardeshi in his official welcome note reiterated the bond New Zealand and India share that dates back to 1955-56 when New Zealand toured India for the first time playing five test matches against the hosts.
“I would like our team to know that New Zealand is a very warm and hospitable country, there are roughly quarter of a million Indian origin people in NZ, and they strongly look forward to seeing the visit of Indian sports contingent, and you can see the level of excitement here for you,” HE Muktesh Pardeshi said in his welcome speech.
Welcoming the Indian Team, Minister of Sports and Recreation Grant Robertson thanked the contingent lead by Virat Kohli for bringing the whole team to the event.
“Thank you so much for being here, the life of a travelling cricketer is one where you spend much of your time away from home, and you have been travelling for a long time, and I am glad to see the whole team present here, thank you so much for giving us this opportunity,” Minister Grant Robertson said.
Minister stating the sportsmanship both the teams share, lauded team India’s 5-0 sweep in the T20s and wished a competitive test that starts on Friday, February 21.
“My fav sporting photograph of 2019-20 was seeing Virat and Kane sitting on the side of the field talking to each other- to me that is the spirit in which India and New Zealand not only compete on the sporting field but respect one another and I hope the High Commissioner that same can be applied to our relations as two countries.
“We work well together, and we have a lot of respect, and the Maori word is Aroha, love for our two countries together,” Minister Grant Robertson said.
Taking a jibe at Team India’s number position in the Test Cricket and New Zealand being at number four after Australia and England, Minister Grant Robertson ended his speech asking the Indian TeamTeam would surely be wanting to see New Zealand at number two.
Virat Kohli in his speech, responded warmly to Grant Robertson’s comment saying he would love to see New Zealand share the number one spot with India sometime.
“We just heard a few words right now about mutual admiration and respect between two countries and I couldn’t agree more that you spoke of number two spot; I think if we have to share the number one spot with any other team, it would be New Zealand,” Virat Kohli said at the event.
"(The Indian Test team) have reached the stage where every team want to beat us and New Zealand won't be any different. But the difference is that there won't be any spite in it. That is one reason why I can sit with Kane on the boundary line and have a conversation mid-game about life and not cricket," he said.
Virat Kohli addressing the guests at the event thanked the Indian High Commissioner HE Muktesh Pardeshi for inviting and hosting the Indian Cricket Team.
“Of all the tours that we have, coming to the Indian High Commission is always a very special evening because we get to spend some time with a lot of Indians, obviously, but, we also get to meet a lot of people from the country that we are in.
“It marks getting together of two cultures and something we really enjoy watching and being a part of,” Virat Kohli said.
The reception ended in dinner and mix and mingle between the players and guests present at the event.