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Mbeki to take ‘inaugural’ hit

Mumbai: Come October 18 and a VVIP — South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki — will hit the first ball in an exhibition match at the CCI here. Mbeki is coming over to India at the head of a 60-strong delegation to mark a decade of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

While details haven’t been finalised, the President is expected to be accompanied by four former cricketers — Graeme Pollock, Jonty Rhodes, Craig Matthews and Omar Henry. According to The Telegraph’s sources, the quartet will be split into two teams — one should be the CCI XI.

No current player will be present as Graeme Smith and Co. will then be in the midst of a series in Pakistan. Mbeki, of course, won’t have any role in the game besides that ‘inaugural’ hit, but is slated to give away the prizes after the two-hour fixture ends.

Meanwhile, the Raj Singh Dungarpur-headed CCI has bestowed honorary life memberships on International Cricket Council president Ehsan Mani and chief executive Malcolm Speed. Their cards were presented at a high-profile function on Thursday night. Former India cricketers Madhav Mantri and Madhav Apte were also honoured.

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