London, January 28
Among the "friends of India" who received a letter of appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 73rd Republic day of the country, former England cricket captain Kevin Pietersen on Friday thanked him for the gesture and said the nation of over a billion is a global "powerhouse".
Sharing the letter on Twitter, Pietersen said he was thankful to the Prime Minister for acknowledging his "affection towards India". South African great Jonty Rhodes and West Indies swashbuckler Chris Gayle had also received similar letters from the PM.
"Dear, Mr @narendramodi, Thanks for the incredibly kind words in your letter to me. Ever since stepping foot in India in 2003, I've grown more in love with your country on every visit.
"I was recently asked, ‘what do you most like about India' & my answer was easy - THE PEOPLE," he posted.
"Happy Republic Day to all Indians for a couple days ago. A proud country & a powerhouse globally! I look forward to meeting you in person soon, to thank you for how India is a global leader in protecting its wildlife!" he added.
The PM called Pietersen a friend of India and said, "While your exploits on the cricketing field are still fresh in the memories of all of us, your connect with India and Indians is truly remarkable.
"I also immensely enjoy going through your tweets in Hindi," Modi added referring to Pietersen's attempts at connecting with his fans in Hindi on Twitter.
Pietersen had recently lauded India's role in conservation of rhinos.
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