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December 6, 2013
The cricketing world has united to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died in Johannesburg on Thursday night. A minute's silence was observed in Adelaide and Dunedin, where Australia, England, New Zealand and West Indies are playing Tests and statements poured in from across the globe.
In South Africa, the home team are currently hosting India on a month-long tour - the first match was on Thursday - but Mandela's death is unlikely to affect the scheduling of the series. Cricket South Africa announced that it had decided to dedicate the series to Mandela as a tribute.
CSA initially posted their tribute on Twitter, before Chris Nenzani, the CSA president, released a statement praising Mandela for bringing hope, stability and progress to South Africa. "The sporting world will remember him for his tireless efforts at uniting the various sporting codes in order to create a proud and united South African sporting front," he said.
Graeme Smith, South Africa's Test captain, said he felt privileged to have been able to spend time with Mandela. "As the captain I was very privileged to spend some time with him and I vividly recall telephone calls I received from him wishing us luck before a big match or event," Smith said. "He always gave simple but wise advice and this had a big impact on me as leader of the team."
South Africa's ODI captain, AB de Villiers, said Mandela's personal interest in the players was motivational: "We often felt, especially in my early days in the Proteas, that Madiba showed a personal interest in the team and in us as individual players. This motivated us to be better." (For more reactions click here.)
In Adelaide, meanwhile, the England and Australia teams, along with the crowd, observed a minute's silence before play resumed on the second day while both teams were also wearing black armbands. Across the Tasman, in Dunedin, the ground paused for a minute before the afternoon session began.
During his time as South Africa President, Mandela met with many of the teams who toured South Africa. In 1995 in Soweto he was introduced to Devon Malcolm, the England fast bowler, and said "I know you. You are the destroyer," in relation to Malcolm's performance at The Oval the previous year.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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