Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Well Played, Madiba. We Raise Our Bats to Your Innings

analysis

When it comes to Nelson Mandela and sport in South Africa, the most common memory is his role during the 1995 World Cup. But he had profound impact on cricket in the country, too.

Not only did a few simple words set the ball in notion to send South Africa to their first World Cup post-isolation, but his interest in the individuals who have represented South Africa was always genuine and heartwarming.

When it comes to Nelson Mandela and sport, the most memorable images always relate to rugby. His time with the national team, his lifting of the trophy with South African captain Francois Pienaar, his visits to the rugby team and his captivating impact on a nation which was trying to rebuild after the devastation of Apartheid.

His impact on cricket, though, isn't often touched on. Yet, he had a profound impact on the sport in the country, just as he did on so many other things. In the early post-isolation years, when the South African Cricket Union and the South African Cricket Board merged and formed the United Cricket Board of South Africa, the country was readmitted as an ICC member, but there wasn't any...

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