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Batting for the Mahatma

india Updated: Dec 26, 2013 00:12 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times
BCCI

On Sunday night, the prayers of the Indian diaspora were answered and their hopes of having the India team among them in some way finally gained momentum.

Lenasia is 35 kilometers from Johannesburg. While it hosted multi-racial events during the apartheid era as it was an area designated for Indians in that period, people from there are waiting for an India team to set foot in the area for over 20 years.

Unlike Pakistan, Sri Lanka and even England, who obliged and played at the massive cricket ground, the BCCI has always been cagey of sending the team there despite repeated requests. Distraught and almost without hope, the management of the Lenasia Cricket Ground stopped inviting them over the past couple of tours.

However, with the local people looking to rebuild the house in which Mahatma Gandhi had stayed for four years, the management needed funds and gave the India team one more try. This time they didn't ask them to visit but wanted them to just sign a bat. It will be auctioned in early 2014 during a fund-raising dinner where talented sportspersons will also be rewarded.

Having been reluctant to even consider it earlier, the team finally realised the cause which the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation had taken up after a letter of request on the foundation's letterhead was sent to them. They took the bat and have promised to return it signed in Durban once the exhaustion of the first Test is over.