Modi and Albanese watch India-Australia Test match

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese watched the opening day of the fourth and final cricket Test match between India and Australia for half an hour at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, here on Thursday. Both did a ‘lap of honor’ of the stadium in a golf cart. Modi and Albanese handed over the Test caps to their respective country’s cricket team captains Rohit Sharma and Steve Smith respectively.

Modi and Albanese, who arrived on a golf cart, were greeted with applause by thousands of cricket fans who arrived at the world’s largest cricket stadium to watch the Test match. Modi and Albanese met players from both the teams and stood with the players when the national anthems of India and Australia were played. The two Prime Ministers inaugurated the ‘Hall of Fame Museum’ at the Narendra Modi Stadium. Indian captain Rohit Sharma and Australian captain Steve Smith accompanied their respective prime ministers to the ground and introduced them to the other players.

Crowds started pouring in from different parts of the state since morning, most of them carrying the tricolor and their faces painted. The vendors selling India T-shirts and other merchandise for the match day were all sold out. A fan said, “We came here to see PM Modi. He is our ‘lucky charm’ and his presence will turn the tide of this Test match in India’s favour. If Modi is there then it is possible. ,

Rakesh Desai, who came from Surat to watch the match, said, “My entire family is a cricket fan. We all watch the match in any stadium of Gujarat. I am sure the Indian team will be inspired by seeing so many people. Sources said the ruling BJP had arranged a large number of ‘passes’ for the match and given them to the people. Many of them went to the stadium after watching the match for some time. Albanese had reached Ahmedabad on Wednesday morning.

He had participated in some programs organized in the city. At the same time, Modi reached Ahmedabad late on Wednesday night. India is leading 2-1 in the four-Test series. Australia captain Steve Smith won the toss and decided to bat first here on Thursday. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Roger Binny presented his portrait to Albanese while secretary Jay Shah presented his portrait to Indian Prime Minister Modi. The picture presented by Jai Shah was sharply criticized. The Congress termed it yet another case of “self-indulgence”. The Congress said in a tweet, “Narendra Modi’s friend’s son presented Narendra Modi’s photo to Narendra Modi at Narendra Modi Stadium.”

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