India-SA ODI series 'dedication to late Nelson Mandela'
Cricket South Africa (CSA) today confirmed that the India-South Africa ODI series will continue as scheduled and dedicated the three-match rubber to Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon, who has passed away.
South Africa was thrown into a solemn mood last evening when it was announced that Mandela had passed away at the age of 95.
The entire country is in mourning, for this is their biggest loss as a society. However, removing doubts around the series, following death of Mandela, CSA said the series against India will proceed as scheduled.
"We have just received the official confirmation from the government that Sunday's game at Durban is on as well as the third ODI in Centurion on December 11," Michael Owen-Smith, Executive Consultant of the CSA, told PTI.
The two-Test series, beginning December 22, is also likely to be held as schduled but there is speculation that two-day practice game, starting December 14 at Benoni may be re-scheduled or cancelled due to Mandela's funeral on December 15. CSA President Chris Nenzani said, "As part of the greater South African family of former president Nelson Mandela, CSA expresses its sincere condolences to the family of Madiba, to the nation and the world."
"His love for sport and his appreciation of what it could do to unify the country is legendary. He was a keen amateur boxer in his youth but he loved all sporting codes across the board and in it he saw the foundations for a healthy future for all the youth of the country.
"Nothing assuredly gave him greater pleasure than being part of the team that brought the FIFA World Cup to South Africa in 2010 and seeing what a wonderful celebration of sport, comradeship and humanity the tournament was. "CSA dedicates the current series against the Indian team to the memory of Mandela," he added.
Mandela had been battling health issues in recent months, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalisations. Mandela, who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid before becoming the country's first black leader, had faced several health scares. His most recent hospital stay spanning over three months was his longest since he walked free in 1990.