New Delhi, Jan 26 (UNI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday conveyed Republic Day greetings to former South Africa cricketer Jonty Rhodes for his profound connection with India and its culture. In a letter to Rhodes the PM said: "I decided to write to you and a few other friends of India, with a sense of gratitude for your affection towards India and a hope that you continue to work closely with our nation as well as our people. "Over the years, you have developed a profound connection with India and its culture. This special bond was truly reflected when you named your daughter after this great nation. You truly are a special ambassador of the strong relations between our nations. "India is witnessing a series of historic socio-economic transformations. I am confident these will empower lives and contribute to the global good. "Once again, I extend Republic Day greetings and look forward to interacting with you in the times to come." Replying to PM Modi's letter, Rhodes said: "I have indeed grown so much as an individual on every visit to India. My whole family celebrates Republic Day with all of India, honouring the importance of a Constitution that protects the rights of the Indian people." Former Proteas cricketer has a deep connection with India. In 2015, he had named his daughter 'India' to show his love and respect for the country. In 2017, on his daughter's second birthday, Rhodes a posted a photo on Twitter with a caption "Happy Birthday baby India; 2 today" Replying to Rhodes' tweet, PM Modi wrote: "Happy birthday to India, from India" along with a smiley emoticon. West Indies batting legend Chris Gayle has also extended his wishes to India and revealed that he woke up to a personal greeting from the PM. "I would like to congratulate India on their 73rd Republic Day. I woke up to a personal message from Prime Minister Modi Narendra Modi reaffirming my close personal ties with him and to the people of India. Congratulations from the Universe Boss and nuff love," Gayle tweeted.