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PM Narendra Modi’s Republic Day gift for Brett Lee: Binga receives letter from PM as ‘exemplar’ of Indo-Australian relationship

Lee has made sporadic appearances on Indian television, most notably as a guest on The Kapil Sharma Show and Rendezvous with Simi Garewal.

Brette Lee Modi
A known Indophile, Lee was cast in the Indo-Australian film UnIndian opposite Tannishtha Chatterjee. (Twitter/International Cricket Council)

Narendra Modi’s letter to Brett Lee: Former Australia pacer Brett Lee received a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a mark of gratitude for his ‘friendship’ towards the country on the occasion of India’s 75th Republic Day.

Lee posted an image of the letter, signed by Modi, on Twitter. Accompanying the picture, Lee wrote: “Such an honour to receive this letter. Thank you @narendramodi.”

“It’s no secret how much I love India & its people & feel grateful that I’ve been able to spend so many years enjoying this beautiful country. I’m a few days late, but Happy Republic Day India.”

Lee, known affectionately as Binga, also tagged the official Twitter handles of the Prime Minister’s Office and the High Commission of India in Canberra.

The pacer, one of the fastest bowlers in history, played 76 Tests, 221 One Day Internationals, and 225 T20 Internationals for Australia between 1999 and 2012. He retired from all forms of cricket in 2015 after stints with the Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) and the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

A known Indophile, Lee was cast in the Indo-Australian film UnIndian opposite Tannishtha Chatterjee. Shot in Sydney and released in India in 2016, and UnIndian scored big at the Box Office. He also had a role in Haan Main Tumhara Hoon with legendary singer Asha Bhosle, with whom he recorded a duet. Lee also had a cameo role as himself in the Harman Baweja starrer Victory.

Since his retirement, Lee has made sporadic appearances on Indian television, most notably as a guest on The Kapil Sharma Show and Rendezvous with Simi Garewal. He presented an award alongside Preity Zinta at the 12th IIFA Awards in 2011.

Such is his affinity towards India that his restaurant specialises in Indian cuisine. He event went as far as saying that India was his ‘second home’. In a 2013 interview, Lee revealed that India was special to him and liked the culture, colour, and chaos of the country. He said the people of India had taken him under their wings and looked for him like their own son.

As for Modi’s letters, Lee was not the only former cricketer to receive one. Earlier, another Aussie great, former batter Matthew Hayden, West Indies power hitter Chris Gayle, former South Africa batter and legendary fielder Jonty Rhodes, and former England captain Kevin Pietersen announced that they had also received personalised letters from the Indian Prime Minister.

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