South Africa news

India to play South Africa at football world cup stadium

Cricinfo staff

June 14, 2010

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Australian football fans camp at Kingsmead during the World Cup, Durban, June 13, 2010
The Kingsmead cricket ground in Durban has become a camp for football fans in the city over the last few weeks, but next January the nearby football stadium will host a Twenty20 match between South Africa and India Rajesh Jantilal / © AFP

South Africa will meet India at the FIFA World Cup stadium in Durban next year for a Twenty20 game expected to attract the biggest crowd to ever attend a cricket match in South Africa.

The Moses Mabhida Stadium is currently flooded with fans for the football world cup but will transform into a cricket stadium on January 9 2011 during India's three Test and five ODI tour that precedes the 50-over cricket world cup.

"The Standard Bank International Pro20 match at the FIFA World Cup 2010 venue, the Moses Mabhida Stadium, will take on a very special significance as it will be one of the main events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in South Africa," said Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola.

In a packed schedule running from this October to the World Cup in February, South Africa host three ODIs against an improving Zimbabwe side, before touring UAE to play Pakistan in five ODIs and two Tests during October and November.

The home series against India then begins less than a month later with teams competing for the Krish Mackerdhuj Trophy, named after the former CSA President and a pioneer of the first South African cricket tour to India in 1991. The series could decide who's ranked the world's best Test team and Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, is desperate for the accolade.

"The No. 1 Test match ranking is also a massive honour in our great game," said Graeme Smith. "We have had a very good run in this format over the past two years with away series wins in England and Australia and two drawn series in India."

Following their memorable triumph in Australia in 2008-09, however, South Africa have struggled to maintain their consistency. They lost to Australia at home, before disappointing in the Champions Trophy they hosted in September and October 2009 and drawing at home to England soon after.

It culminated in coach Mickey Arthur resigning to be replaced by Corrie van Zyl and a new selection team, led by Andrew Hudson, being installed. There followed an encouraging tour to India in February this year, which was shared 1-1, and South Africa are now dominating a series in West Indies.

"There have been a lot of encouraging signs about our away performances in India and West Indies, although there is still plenty of room for improvement," said van Zyl. "The upcoming series against Zimbabwe, Pakistan and India form an important part in developing an upward curve because a winning run is the best way to build confidence, and confidence is the key to ultimate success. That ultimate goal for this season is the ICC World Cup in February."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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