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India-SA ODIs as scheduled; named 'dedication to late Nelson Mandela'

Last updated on: December 06, 2013 22:10 IST

Cricket South Africa did its bit to honour Nelson Mandela on Friday by naming the ongoing ODI series against India as 'dedication to late Nelson Mandela'.

South Africa went into mourning on Thursday evening after it was announced that the anti-apartheid icon passed away at the age of 95.

Cricket South Africa confirmed that the Indian tour, in particular the ODI series, will proceed as scheduled.

The second ODI is slated to be played in Durban on Sunday, and both the teams have already reached there.

"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, said.

The two-Test series, beginning December 22, is also likely to be held as scheduled 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.

"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," said CSA president Chris Nenzani.

"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 battled health issues in recent months, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalisations.

He emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid before becoming the country's first black leader.

His most recent hospital stay spanning over three months was his longest since he walked free in 1990.

While life for many people carries on, in terms of their daily activities, quite a few thousands have gathered at Mandela's two residences in Johannesburg. One is at Houghton, in the north-eastern part of the city, where the people's champion breathed his last. The other is located at Soweto, an area bordering the mining belt in the south of Johannesburg. This was the residence where he first returned, after serving his 27-year prison sentence.

At both locations people are singing and dancing in celebration of the life of arguably the greatest South African to have lived, the one man who united the people of the country and took them on a path to progress.

There is no official word, though, on the final rites.

"Every boy and girl playing in CSA's various youth tournaments this month is blessed to have been born into a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist country that is, of course, Madiba's gift to the nation.

"His love for his fellow human being has been well documented and especially for children where he has lent his name to various charitable projects," said CSA's chief executive Haroon Lorgot, whilst paying his respects to Mandela.

Image: India fans during the first ODI at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Photograph: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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