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London: Jul 16, 2014
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni introduced his squad to the British Indian community at a special reception here ahead of the second cricket Test match which gets underway at Lord’s on Thursday.
“It feels like we own this property when we come back every year,” Dhoni said in reference to his team’s visit to the residence of the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Ranjan Mathai, in central London for a special reception on Tuesday evening.
“But jokes apart, it is more of a ritual wherever we go, any nation, the one common thing is that we meet the community there. It really gives us pride to be on Indian soil in a way,” he added. His teammates including Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir and Ravindra Jadeja then introduced themselves at the garden party attended by ministers, MPs, Indian-origin businessmen as well as former cricketers such as Farooq Engineer, Dilip Vengsarkar and Dilip Doshi.
“We in the British government believe passionately and strongly in the strength of the relationship between our two countries, built on a strong future together and, of course, it is also built on cricket,” said Mathew Hancock, newly-appointed as the UK minister of business, innovation and skills as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Cabinet reshuffle.
“I was honoured to be asked to attend Cabinet for the first time. I would like to stress that of the various travel plans I have, my plans to come to India each year will not be moved because we believe strongly in this relationship between two countries that share the values of enterprise and looking forward with innovation. I think it is a great relationship with cricket at its heart,” he added.
The ongoing India vs England Test series has been described as a historic one, being the first full five-Test match series India will play on England soil since 1959. The first match at Trent Bridge ended in a draw and the second match opens at Lord’s on Thursday.
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