New Delhi, Oct 26: Cricket today became an analogy to highlight the warm ties between India and New Zealand as Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and John Key drew references from the game to stress on the progress made in their bilateral equation.
The references came on a day when India were taking on New Zealand in the fourth match of a five-game ODI series.
Modi was the first to speak in the joint press briefing that followed the exchange of agreements between the two nations.
Referring to the ongoing ODI series, Modi said some cricketing terms were apt description of the progress made in the two countries' bilateral ties.
"In a little while from now, our cricket teams will take the field in Ranchi for the fourth one-day international. In many ways, some of the cricketing terminology reflects progress in our bilateral linkages. In our ties, we have moved from fielding at long off to taking a fresh guard at the batting pitch. Defensive play has given way to aggressive batting," Modi said.
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Key was not to be left behind and quipped that he is thankful to Modi for not raising his country's poor performance in the series so far. New Zealand were whitewashed 0-3 in the Test series and are trailing in the ongoing five-match ODI series as well.
"You have spoken about the cricket taking place in India but gracious enough not to be talking about the fact that India has been triumphing over New Zealand," Key said in lighter vein.
"We are of course trying to build as warm and as close a relationship with India as we can and we have gone to the extraordinary lengths of ensuring that former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum is now playing for Gujarat. So we are truly committed to the relationship between New Zealand and India," Key said referring to McCullum's IPL association with Gujarat Lions, the franchise based in Modi's home state Gujarat.