South Africa-India series to go ahead as scheduled
The South Africa-India series is set to be played out as scheduled, with the South Africa government having given Cricket South Africa the go ahead. The status of the ongoing tour was doubtful on Friday, following the death of former president Nelson Mandela. Several of the matches clash with various events arranged to mourn and honour Mandela. Cricket South Africa had subsequently sought advice from the South African presidency, on the scheduling of the series.
"All South African sporting codes, including cricket, football, beach volleyball and rugby sevens, have been allowed to continue their programmes," a spokesperson from the South African sports ministry said. On Saturday morning South Africa sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, will "outline the process" of paying respect to Mandela. A source told ESPNcricinfo that the usual will be done - black armbands, a minute's silence, flags at half-mast - but there will also be "something else".
"We have taken this decision in consultation with Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA)," CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat confirmed in a release. "We will, of course, appropriately mark the passing away of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the father of our nation and one of the world's greatest icons."
South Africa's domestic first-class games went ahead on Friday, after a minute's silence was observed.
Mandela, who was 95, passed away on Thursday evening at around 08.50pm, and the news was announced by South African president Jacob Zuma close to midnight. Friday was declared a day of mourning, and Sunday - the scheduled date of the second ODI - will be a national day of prayer. From December 11 to 13 Mandela's body will lie in state in Pretoria - the third and final ODI is in Centurion on 11th - before his funeral on December 15 in Qunu, his hometown in the Eastern Cape. India's two-day tour match, ahead of the Tests, is due to start on December 14.
CSA had already shown a willingness to put aside their needs for that of Mandela, earlier this year when it postponed its annual awards and key meetings regarding appointing a CEO when Mandela fell gravely ill in June. At the time, CSA said they felt it would be "inappropriate" to hold celebratory functions at a time of national concern.
With the mood in country one of celebration of Mandela's life, rather than sadness, CSA have since said they will dedicate the remainder of the India series to Mandela.
*16.00GMT, December 6: This article was updated after the series was given the go ahead.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent