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Remarks at the New Year’s Day Reception for the Australian and Pakistani Test Cricket Teams
Lucy and I are delighted to welcome the Australian and Pakistani Cricket Teams here today and the families, this is very much a family day.
I know a slight touch of rain is interrupting play for the moment, but as we have just seen with the Melbourne Test – that doesn’t prevent you from having a very exciting contest. So hopefully rolling down the hill will resume and cricket will resume in the garden very shortly.
I want to welcome especially the Pakistani team to Sydney and to Australia.
I want to acknowledge the distinguished guests which there are many.
I will just acknowledge a few – the Australian Captain, Steve Smith, the Australian Coach, Darren Lehmann, the Pakistan Captain Misbah Ul-Haq Khan and the Pakistan Coach, Mickey Arthur.
And all of the players, their partners, their families and the officials who are here today.
There is no question the matches so far had us on the edge of our seats.
As we have been discussing the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne which was a reminder of how predictions, it’s a bit like politics actually, predictions about outcomes are rarely reliable and the game ebbed and flowed and it was for a Prime Minister that was seeking to have a low stress relaxing time, I have to say there were moments of considerable stress there. I can see the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton would have felt exactly the same way on his holiday as well.
But it was the Australian team that triumphed this week with a series win on Friday. There were star performances from so many of you, particularly Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and David Warner. And so it’s no wonder that our captain was smiling ear to ear as he was awarded player of the match.
Pakistani and Australian cricketers are fierce but friendly rivals and we both love a good contest.
It is no doubt that we are two of the great cricket-loving, cricket-playing nations of the world.
And the enthusiasm and joy and excitement of the Pakistani fans and supporters is magnificent.
There are more than 30,000 Pakistani Australians, most of whom live here in New South Wales. And they will be able to hedge their bets of course, watching our local Australian hero, Usman Khawaja in action. Usman of course was born in Pakistan and is making a magnificent contribution to the Australian team.
So I am sure that they will be an enthusiastic and colourful part of the crowd at the cricket ground.
Now, in terms of the backyard rules here, I want to lay out a few rules.
Hits into the harbour are automatic outs and the batsman has to retrieve the ball.
I would advise batsman retrieving balls from the harbour to move with lightning pace.
Many people already have asked me whether there are sharks in the harbour. Let me say – there is Shark Island, there is Shark Beach, there is Shark Point. They are not given those names because there were no sharks.
I mean Australians do have a contrary sense of humour, that’s why we call people with red hair ‘Bluey’ but I can assure there is plenty of sharks in the harbour.
Now, rebounds off this historic house have to be caught with one hand and half your match payments donated to the National Trust.
Over the fence is six and out, I’m afraid. And I have got to point out to you again, just as a friendly warning, that our neighbour the Governor-General, General Sir Peter Cosgrove, is a decorated soldier and an expert in shot selection!
So welcome to you all. Lucy and I look forward to joining you at the Test this coming week.
This is a wonderful day. It’s a great family day. Cricket is a great family sport.
There are well over a million Australians who play cricket and around a quarter of them are women and girls. And you know of the success of the Australian Women’s Team, of course, it is world famous.
This is a growing great Australian family sport and this is a great family day.
I can say to you we got here a little early, Lucy and I, and our daughter and son-in-law James, and two of our grandchildren. We were having training on rolling down the hill which I noticed all of the kids have been doing. Lucy demonstrated to Jack, our grandson how to roll down the hill. So I just wanted to say, Lucy – there is no grandmother who is a better sport than you! Great work.
Welcome, enjoy the views, enjoy the hospitality and have some time out from the field of play.
Welcome, thank you.