Documentary on historic 1991 India vs South Africa series


A documentary on India’s 2020-21 Test tour Down Under, where the Australians ended up being beaten by a spirited Indian team, has been announced by Sony. 

Out in South Africa, SuperSport have produced one on the Rainbow nation’s first tour after being welcomed back to the international fold – to India in 1991. South Africa were banned from international cricket due to apartheid and played no international cricket after the 1969-70 home series against Australia.

It was a short November tour consisting of three ODIs (India won 2-1), but it is etched firmly in SA’s cricket history. Ali Bacher, the former SA cricket board chief, who was the team’s manager on that tour, tells that the SuperSport-produced, three-part documentary is a splendid one which features interviews of players who were part of that series. Meeting the late Mother Teresa was certainly the off-field highlight, but no less memorable was the tremendous response the Proteas received at Kolkata airport and cheered all the way to their hotel. 

Bacher recalls seeing around 95,000 in the Eden Gardens stands and 20,000 outside without tickets/passes to get in on match day (10-11-91). “There is footage of the overwhelming crowd and I remember being on the field when Andrew Hudson walked out to bat [with Stephen Cook]. I had one look at him and he was whiter than white. Andrew was dismissed for a duck by Kapil Dev,” recalls Bacher.

Ali Bacher

South Africa scored 177-8 in 47 overs and India achieved their target in the 41st over. Sachin Tendulkar cracked 62 while fellow Mumbaikar Pravin Amre hit 55 as Allan Donald claimed five of the seven Indian wickets to fall. 

Donald and Tendulkar shared the man-of-the-match award. “Allan Donald showed up as a future superstar. I also remember going to the Indian dressing room and congratulating Sachin on a magnificent knock. It started a long friendship between Sachin and myself. He is an extraordinary individual,” says Bacher.
The South Africans headed to Gwalior, where they lost by 38 runs but won the third and final game under floodlights at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, by eight wickets. 

This was the series (shown on Doordarshan) in which the BCCI realised that they could sell television rights. Bacher offered Jagmohan Dalmiya quarter a million rand as South Africa’s return to international cricket had to be beamed back home. “Dalmiya realised that day the commercial value of Indian cricket,” says Bacher.
The rest as they say, is history!


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