All future bilateral series between India and South Africa, including South Africa's forthcoming tour of India, will be called the Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela series, the two boards have announced. The Test series, the BCCI and Cricket South Africa said, will be played for the Freedom Trophy.
"BCCI, on behalf of every citizen of our country, is able to pay tribute to these great leaders by naming the series after them, and appeals to each and every citizen of our country to imbibe their ideals and follow the path advised by them," BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said in a statement.
CSA chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, said that naming the series after Gandhi and Mandela was "eternal news for our people and cricketers". "For the people of both our countries there is no greater duty than to uphold the ideals of both Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela," he said. "As cricket-loving people we must fight hard to win on the field of play but never forget to do battle in the spirit of these two great men."
Gandhi was the leader of India's non-violent freedom struggle, and had a South African connection as well, having practised law in the country. Mandela spearheaded the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and was the country's president from 1994 to 1999. The announcement is significant in the context of ICC chief executive David Richardson's recent concerns over the relevance of bilateral series that don't have an "iconic, traditional status".
India will host South Africa for three T20Is, five ODIs and four Test matches between October and December this year.