Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited former cricketers Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar to be part of his tour to Australia. He is scheduled to leave for Down Under on November 14 and is currently taking part in the ASEAN- India summit in Myanmar.
In what is being seen as a crafty move to use cricket diplomacy, World Cup-winning captain Kapil and legendary batsman Gavaskar will represent India in a delegation led by PM Modi himself. In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Kapil said it was an honour and a privilege. "It is always a great honour to represent the country - as a cricketer and as a former cricketer. I was part of (former Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee's trip to Pakistan for the Delhi-Lahore bus service and I know what it means to be part of such a privilege," he said.
While Kapil admitted that India and Australia have an engrossing rivalry on the field, he said the two countries have a lot in common too and that a diplomatic visit would be a great experience. "It is a wonderful opportunity. PM Modi has an open mind and is ready to listen. While I do not yet know what the plan is, I would love to talk cricket with him," he said.
The Indian cricket team will also leave for Australia later this month and will play four Tests there. The first will start from December 4 but captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been rested for that match. (Read more here)