India in SA
India vs SA: rivalry hots up
Clive Rice leads South Africa back into international cricket in India, 1991. (Cricinfo)
Johnanesburg - Can you remember what you were doing on this day 18 years ago? The chances are that if you are a cricket fan and live in the Western Cape you would have been at Sahara Park Newlands watching the first ever ODI to be played in South Africa.
Appropriately, the adversaries were the Proteas and India. Appropriate is the right word, because the Proteas' first ever ODI was also against India at Eden Gardens on that famous November 10 1991, when the sub-continent witnessed the birth of cricket’s latest rivalry.
There have been many other famous rivalries such as the Ashes contest between England and Australia, which is currently enthralling the cricketing world "down under", not to mention those between India and Pakistan.
But, given time, there is tangible evidence that South Africa and India are building a tradition of similar proportions.
After all, the approaching Castle Test series is between the No. 1 and 2 ranked sides on the ICC Test ratings, and visiting coach Gary Kirsten has already said that his squad cannot achieve greatness until it has won a Test series in South Africa.
Remarkably, that first ODI played in South Africa had been preceded by 15 matches away from home in India, Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies.
The Proteas won that first home ODI by what on paper looks like a comfortable 6 wickets, although there were, in fact, only 3 balls to spare.
The match also marked Fanie de Villiers’ debut in any format of the international game, and was also historic in that it witnessed the first instance of a third umpire TV decision in an ODI when Kepler Wessels was adjudged run out by Rudi Koertzen.
Koertzen, recently retired after a distinguished career, made his ODI debut two days later and was to stand in a Test match for the first time later that month at his home ground of Axxess DSL St George’s.
The MTN ODI series between the Proteas and India starting early next year will witness more history. Assuming the first two encounters of the five-match rubber are not completely washed out, the third game at Sahara Park Newlands will be the Proteas’ 450th ODI.
And assuming Graeme Smith is not ruled out of action through injury (an unfortunate possibility these days) the second match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium will see him become South Africa’s most capped ODI captain of all time.
The latest edition of South Africa-India rivalry will indeed be a summer of many highlights.
It also includes the historic Standard Bank International Pro20 for the Krish Mackerdhuj Trophy at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which is expected to draw the biggest crowd to witness a cricket match on the African continent.
A star-studded Bollywood cast will entertain fans at the conclusion of the match.
This match will also honour two of the legends of the modern game: Makhaya Ntini of South Africa and Sachin Tendulkar of India; as well as Clive Rice’s pioneering Proteas team that made the first tour to India in 1991.
Fans can purchase tickets via TicketPros - www.cricket.ticketpros.co.za or call centre: 087 151 4400, at PostNet outlets and at all host venues.
Gerald Majola, Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO, said: “The rivalry that existed between South Africa and India in the first ODI on South African soil 18 years ago is even fiercer today, and the upcoming tour by India is going to be one to be remembered for all time.
“This tour could well be another pointer as to which is the top world rated team in both Tests and ODIs, and both the Proteas and India have big points to prove.
“It is also great that the tour is going to be part of the rich history between these two great cricketing nations, particularly with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in South Africa with the commemorative Standard Bank International Pro 20 match between the Proteas and India.
“The tour will certainly re-write the cricketing history books on many fronts and we urge the South African public to be part of it by being there.”