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|March 6, 2000||
Something to remember for years to comeHansie Cronje
After watching some very disappointed faces in our dressing room in Kanpur in 1996, the mood in the South African dressing room was obviously one of great excitement and jubilation after completing two outstanding years in Test cricket.
We were welcomed back to international cricket in 1991 by the Indian public and personally it was very satisfying to beat India after 10 years of trying on the subcontinent. The public's interest and friendliness was also appreciated and we were glad that so many turned up for the fifth day's play in Bangalore.
After dismissing India for only 158 in the first innings, it was really important that we turn on the heat in our first innings, and the contributions from everyone really helped putting up 479. Nicky Boje obviously wanted to make the most of his opportunity to play Test cricket after having to wait five years and deservedly won man of the match. I would say that this team was more mature and confident than the 1996 team and Pollock and Kallis certainly made a difference after missing the '96 tour because of injuries. The only disappointment was Kapil Dev saying that this was not seen as a series. I believe that made the players even hungrier for success in the 2nd Test.
For the first time South Africa have opted for a different one-day and Test squad on tour and it will certainly be interesting to see how the fresh legs will boost the team. I believe however that it will be important for the new players to spend as much time as possible on these conditions, before going into the matches, as timing of the ball is different to South African conditions. I must admit that one player that I am a little surprised at not seeing so far on tour, is Venkatesh Prasad.
The South African players got a call from former president Nelson Mandela to congratulate them, and I think that just shows how important this win was for all back home. It is something that all of us will remember for many years to come and as players we look forward to the one-day matches.
Mail Prem Panicker
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