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It was Howard's turn today

By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

ABUJA (NIGERIA) DEC. 6. Cricket, it seems, is never far away from the minds of politicians — even when they are discussing key matters of State at an international conference.

If it was the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who drew attention to the Australian team's score in Brisbane at a bilateral meeting on Friday with his Australian counterpart, John Howard, it was Mr. Howard's turn today.

In a handwritten note to the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, at the Commonwealth plenary session, Mr. Howard wrote: "We can each claim that the rain in Brisbane has saved the other side."

Cricket pundits in the media delegation travelling with the Prime Minister did not agree with Mr. Howard's assertion that was conveyed to them by the Ministry of External Affairs spokesman this evening. Rain, for a change, may have rescued the Australians in the first Test of the series.

India's sporting performance also came up at a "sports breakfast" organised by the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Nigerian President, Olesegun Obasanjo.

The Foreign Secretary, Shashank, told presspersons that the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, referred to the impressive 69 medals won by India at the last Commonwealth Games.

A reference was also made to the fact New Delhi will be hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

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