Bat signed by Kohli gifted to Australian leader

Melbourne: Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Friday gifted his Australian counterpart Marise Payne a cricket bat signed by cricketer Virat Kohli during a visit to the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Jaishankar, who attended the crucial meeting of Quad Foreign Ministers, visited Australia’s largest and most revered sports stadium along with Ms Payne, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa, in a fitting end to a busy day.

Payne hosted the Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting. Quad FMs visit the @MCG. Presented @MarisePayne with a bat signed by @imVkohli, Jaishankar, who is in Australia on his first trip to the country as External Affairs Minister, said on Twitter along with a photo.

A message of fair play and rules of the game, Jaishankar added, in an apparent message to China, which is flexing its muscles in the Indo-Pacific region.

Virat Kohli, the 33-year-old star whose national captaincy tenure recently ended after he relinquished Test leadership, is India’s batting mainstay across formats. He is the most successful Indian Test skipper with 40 wins in 68 games.

The MCG, established in 1853, less than 20 years after the founding of Melbourne, has been the home of Australian football since 1859, and was the birthplace of Test cricket in 1877 and one-day international cricket in 1971.

The stadium, which has a seating capacity of over 1,00,000, is Australia’s biggest sporting facility. The MCG is nestled in Yarra Park, about a 10-minute walk from the heart of Melbourne city.

Jaishankar is visiting Australia at the invitation of his Australian counterpart Payne.  He kicked off his official visit with a meeting with Australia’s Defence Minister Peter Dutton.