Johannesburg: With the Rainbow Nation celebrating 150 glorious years of Indian settlement in South Africa, the CSA hosted the biggest ever official reception for the visiting Indian cricket team here.
“The official welcome reception for the Indian team is the biggest ever for any team that had visited South Africa,” Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola said during the reception last night.
The function was attended by players of both the teams, board officials of both the countries, including CSA president Mtutuzeli Nyoka and Indian Consul-General Vikram Doraiswami among others.
During his welcome speech, CSA president Nyoka said that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men were the deserving numero uno team in the world.
“This is a team (India) that has over the last two years swept all before them. I think that by all accounts they deserve the number one status in Test cricket,” he said.
Nyoka singled out Sachin Tendulkar for praise and saluted the champion batsman for his contribution to the game.
“I want to say thank you to you (Tendulkar) for the many years of wonderful memories that you have given us. You are a true champion, a true hero. You are one of the most decorated cricketers playing today. I salute you as a sportsman, as a cricketer and as a human being,” the CSA president said.
Nyoka also lauded the cricketing links between the two countries.
“South Africa is what today because of its relationship with India. CSA is a vibrant, strong organisation not least because of the relationship it has with BCCI, and I hope our mission of friendship and brotherhood continues for a very long time,” he added.
In keeping with the jovial spirit at the reception, Indian Consul-General Doraiswami said, “We’ve always believed our cricket team is the best and rankings are just a matter of devious Western subversions. It’s good to have it finally recognised officially.”
He also recalled how former South Africa paceman Allan Donald had given troubled times to the Indians during the first tour way back in 1992-93.
“Thank God you don’t have White Lightning (Donald’s nickname) anymore!,” Doraiswami quipped.