New Delhi team appreciate hospitality
Visiting Indian cricketers have declared the opportunity to visit and play cricket in Southland and Central Otago as a trip of a lifetime.
The New Delhi Players Club team have been contesting matches in Invercargill and Central Otago during the past fortnight and will finish with a game against a Southland under-20 team today and a fixture with the Southland Hawke Cup team tomorrow.
NDP are rated as one of the top five cricket clubs in New Delhi and last season won 11 of the 16 tournaments they contested.
They play at club level in New Delhi, which is below the district and first-class competitions.
With one of their former club members, Khanin Saikia, now living in Invercargill and studying at the Southern Institute of Technology it was decided to bring a team to Southland to play.
Yesterday they were hosted by the SIT where they were given a tour of the complex and met staff and international students.
Opening batsman Rohit Tuteja said coming from New Delhi - where the city had a population of 16 million squeezed into a land area similar to Auckland - to a place like Invercargill, which has a population pushing 50,000 and plenty of space, was a strange experience. "We were sharing a joke the other day that Invercargill seems to be a new city which has just been built and we were the only people around," he said.
"There's really nice people here, a lot of scenic beauty, it's a wonderful place. We went over to Wanaka and Luggate and Queenstown the other day and it's a really good place. Beautiful," he said.
"In the future, I hope the same things reciprocates from the Southland sides and some of the guys from New Zealand can come over to India and play some good cricket as well."
The visiting Indian team have played four games to date, winning three and losing one, and are looking forward to finishing off against two representative Southland teams.
NDP captain Amit Rawat - who counts Daniel Vettori and Ross Taylor as his idols - pointed out that cricket in India is described as a religion.
"It's a passion in India, like rugby is [in New Zealand]."
Rawat said the Southland community had been very good to them during their stay.
"People out here have been good in terms of welcoming us and supporting us. It's been very good hospitality."
- The Southland Times