Chandigarh: 26 October 2016: The New Zealand Defence Force Cricket Team is in India supporting Prime Minister John Key this week.
The team arrived in Delhi yesterday evening, and pad up for the first of two T20 matches this morning against one of India’s top Defence Services selections. Both teams include representation from their Navies, Armies and Air Forces, and New Zealand’s team includes players from branches and trades ranging from pilot and engineer to chef and logistician.
“Without the large-nation advantage of being able to front a dedicated representative cricket selection, we still manage to field an excellent team of experienced cricketers and we’ll just have to see how the final result pans out against this fantastic Indian team,” says New Zealand’s Defence Attache in Delhi, Air Commodore Shaun Clarke.
The contest venue is Palam Air Force Base, which will provide a worthy military backdrop for the competition, and there is particular interest in seeing how New Zealand’s premier Defence Force team fares in comparison to its national team, the Black Caps, who are also on tour. After losing all three test matches to Virat Kohli’s Indian team, the Black Caps continue to fight back honourably in the five-game ODI series.
“It’s a real honour for the New Zealand defence boys and their supporters to be in country at the same time as our national team, and we’d like to chalk some victories up for them,” says Air Commodore Clarke.
India and New Zealand have a close defence relationship. New Zealand frequently operates in support of anti-piracy and counter-terrorism in the north-west Indian Ocean, and India has hosted two New Zealand frigate visits and two New Zealand Chief of Navy visits in the past two years.
“The maritime security issues we face in our respective oceans are very similar, including illegal people movement, fisheries protection, drug smuggling and international sea lane security and we have a great deal of experience to share in pursuit of our maritime interests,” says Air Commodore Clarke.
Prime Minister Key arrived in India by Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft on Tuesday, and will leave on Thursday night after engagements in Delhi and Kochi.
He is meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today in the capital.