India and South Africa have a rich history of political struggle for freedom. The cricket bosses of the two countries have decided to link the game with the main protagonists of the freedom movement. All future bilateral tours will be called “Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Series.”
Going forward, the Test series will be played for the “Freedom Trophy”. Unlike a Border-Gavaskar Trophy (between Australia and India) or a Chappell-Hadlee Trophy (between Australia and New Zealand), BCCI and Cricket South Africa have chosen political heroes. The upcoming 72-day tour, starting in Dharamsala October 2, comprises three Twenty20 Internationals, five One-day Internationals and four Test matches.
BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, said: “The struggle for freedom has been the common thread between our countries. Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela liberated our nations with non-violence and non-co-operation as their weapons which have inspired the world, to adopt and achieve their goals in a peaceful manner. We dedicate this trophy to Mahatma and Madiba, the guiding souls of our nations.”
CSA president Chris Nenzani, said “The revered names of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela leave us with a huge responsibility to live up to the legacies they have left us. Above all else they stood for doing the right thing and persevered at great personal cost to achieve freedom for their country regardless of how long it took them.
CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat, 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. Naming all future bilateral series between our two countries after Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela is eternal news for our people and cricketers and I would like to thank the Nelson Mandela Foundation for their support,” said Lorgat.
Interestingly, BCCI and CSA fought a bitter ‘war’ of sorts in 2013 over the length of India’s tour of South Africa later that year. BCCI eventually agreed to a shortened tour and Lorgat, former ICC CEO, was a much-hated man. Lorgat apparently blamed India for blatantly showing disregard to the ICC’s Future Tours Programme.