19 July 2013
South Africa’s touring Proteas played their part on Neslon Mandela International Day by hosting a coaching clinic for a group of under-17 cricketers in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Thursday.
The South African team is preparing for the first one-day international against Sri Lanka, which takes place on Saturday, but felt it was important to share some “Madiba magic” with young cricket enthusiasts in Sri Lanka.
Proteas’ captain AB de Villiers led the birthday praise for the 95-year-old former statesman, saying: “It was wonderful to be able to contribute to the local community today in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of service to our country.
“These are young aspiring cricketers and I have no doubt that they will carry this experience with them as motivation. They are really talented; I don’t know if that’s a good thing for South Africa, but Sri Lankan cricket is quite healthy.
“There are no words to describe the impact Madiba has made on us as cricketers and for sport in our country,” De Villiers said.
“We hope that he is peaceful on this special day of his, and that all South Africans celebrate in a way that would make him proud.”
JP Duminy added: “Having this coaching clinic is a small contribution in the bigger context of what Nelson Mandela has done for South Africa.
“It was a great experience interacting with these up and coming cricketers, their enthusiasm and excitement for the game is humbling. I remember being at that age and being consumed by the game, I hope they learnt a lot.”
Aaron Phangiso said he hopes Mandela’s legacy lives on forever: “It’s a pity that Nelson Mandela Day only happens once a year. We should strive to lead the life that Madiba lived at every occasion.
“Tata is an icon, and he deserves every bit of recognition and adoration that comes his way.”
The Proteas will play five one-day internationals and three T20 internationals before returning to South Africa in early August.
India will then tour South Africa from 18 November to 19 January, playing three tests, seven ODIs, three T20 internationals and three other games against the SA Invitation XI.
The Indian tour will be followed by Australia’s from 5 February to 14 March. It will include three tests, three T20 internationals and a four-day warm-up game against an SA Invitation XI.
SAinfo reporter and Cricket South Africa