Johannesburg: Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola citied how Indian people lined the streets of Calcutta in 1991 to welcome the South Africa team as it undertook its first tour of the country, while announcing his plans for a double-header special match and concert in Durban early next year.
"The tens of thousands of Indians who lined the streets of Calcutta in 1991 to welcome the South Africa team as it undertook its first tour of the country was a signal from India to the world that a new South Africa had been born and should be welcomed by all," said Majola.
Majola also announced that CSA would honour the first ever South African team to tour India back in 1991.
"When Clive Rice`s team landed by chartered aircraft at Dum Dum Airport in the-then Calcutta, thousands of Indians were there to greet them with garlands of flowers.”
"The route to Calcutta was lined by tens of thousands of Indians, cheering and throwing flowers at the team cavalcade. When the first ODI took place a few days later at the famous Eden Gardens, the 100,000-seater was packed to the rafters," Majola added.
Majola said the match at the 60,000 Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, specially built for the recent FIFA World Cup 2010, would see the two countries vying for the trophy named after veteran South African Indian sports administrator Krish Mackerdhuj.
"(He) was a pioneer of unity in South African cricket and of the first tour to India," Majola said.
The match will see special awards for Sachin Tendulkar and Makhaya Ntini, who will call it a day after that game. Tendulkar is the only remaining Indian player in the side that played against South Africa both at home and away.
After the match, there will be a concert in which Bollywood stars Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, and others will join leading local artists in the New Age Friendship Concert.
Both the match and the concert will mark the arrival of the first indentured Indian labourers by boat in Durban on 16 November 1860.