On November 10, 1991, South Africa witnessed one of their greatest sporting moments when they returned to international cricket after a gap of 21 long years.

It was one of the most emotional days in cricket history as South Africa played their first international match in more than two decades, taking on India in the first of a three-match One-Day International series at the Eden Gardens in Calcutta (now Kolkata). The global opposition to apartheid had kept South Africa out of the international cricket circuit since 1970. The move saw hugely talented players such as Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Mike Procter seeing their careers end abruptly. The decision also saw players like Allan Lamb, Robin Smith opting to play for England. Kepler Wessels played for Australia before returning to play for the Proteas.

And after years of struggle, they were finally given the nod from the International Cricket Council to make a return. And their first clash was with India in a three-match one-day series.

India won the match in Calcutta by eight wickets, and the series 2-1. One of South Africa’s greatest pace bowlers, Allan Donald made his debut in the match and took figures of 5/29. But in the grand scheme of things, the result was unimportant. South Africa’s captain Clive Rice summed up what the occasion meant to the world and sport at large with his words: “Now I know how Neil Armstrong felt when he stood on the moon.”