Friday 6 December 2013 

Cricket Pays Tribute To Nelson Mandela

England players observe a silence
England players observe a minute's silence in memory of the passing of Nelson Mandela
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Cricket has joined the millions paying tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela, who has died aged 95.

Although he was perhaps more closely linked with rugby union - memorably presenting Francois Pienaar with the World Cup trophy on home soil in 1995 - he was a boxer in his youth and followed other sports including cricket and football closely.

Following Mandela's five-year term as President, and readmission to international sport in 1991, South Africa hosted both the cricket (2003) and football (2010) World Cups in addition to the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

A minute's silence was observed prior to the second day's play at the Adelaide Ashes Test between Australia and England and players on both sides wore black armbands as a mark of respect.

Leading the tributes, International Cricket Council Chief Executive David Richardson, a former South African international, said:

"This is extremely sad news not only for those in my home country of South Africa, but around the world. Mr Mandela was celebrated for his unwavering dedication to human rights, equality and respect.

"He was and will forever be a true hero."

ICC President Alan Isaac added: "Nelson Mandela was a towering symbol of resistance, a leader, an activist, and a man who recognised the power of sport to inspire and bring people together.

"Mr Mandela never compromised his principles and his beliefs in justice and equality. As South Africa's first black President, Mr Mandela recognised and utilised sport as a mechanism to unite the divided people of South Africa and create a shared national identity and pride.

"As a statesman, he was remarkable, and as a man, he was inspirational."

South Africa One-Day International captain AB de Villiers tweeted: "Let us now, more than ever, stick together as a nation! We owe him that much. #madiba you will be missed! #tata #inspiration #leader."

Cricket South Africa (CSA) have dedicated the current One-Day International series that the Proteas are playing against India to his memory.

"If those who are in positions of leadership at different levels of society could only be a fraction of what Mandela was, South Africa and indeed the world would be a better place," CSA President Chris Nenzani said.

"His love for sport and his appreciation of what it could do to unify the country is legendary. He was a keen amateur boxer in his youth but he loved all sporting codes across the board and in it he saw the foundations for a healthy future for all the youth of the country.

"Nothing assuredly gave him greater pleasure than being part of the team that brought the Fifa World Cup to South Africa in 2010 and seeing what a wonderful celebration of sport, comradeship and humanity the tournament was.

"CSA dedicates the current series against the Indian team to the memory of Mandela."

© Cricket World 2013