Magala, Nortje set to undergo fitness tests

By Real11 - Sep 18 2023 329 Views

Magala, Nortje to undergo fitness tests to determine World Series availability

Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala will go through fitness tests this week to check their availability for the ODI World Series. They earlier this month were named in South Africa’s initial 15 men squad for the tournament, but appeared only once in the just concluded five match ODI series against Australia, before suffering lower back and left knee injuries respectively. A final decision on their inclusion will be taken before the Proteas travel to India on September 23 with early signs that they both might not make the trip. 

"We are continually taking stock as to where both of those players are," Rob Walter, South Africa's white-ball coach said after his team's 3-2 series win over Australia. "The fact that they weren't playing today with a week to go before we board the plane for the World Series is obviously a cause for concern. We would have wanted them out there. There are complications around taking players that are injured into a World Series because then you have to provide a medical reason to be swapped out."

If it is confirmed that Nortje will be unavailable, South Africa will suffer a major blow ahead of the tournament.  Having played for Delhi in the Indian T20 League, the speedster holds substantial experience of bowling in Indian conditions. He played in the Major T20 League in the USA over the South African winter and was rested for the T20Is against Australia. He was subsequently ruled out of the opening one day but played the second. He could only bowl five overs before leaving the field. He was unavailable for the third fixture due to the scans he underwent, but was due to commence bowling again with the coaching unit this weekend. 

Magala’s injury also seems to be serious. The death bowler has not played any cricket since hurting his hand in the Indian T20 League in early April and was then omitted out of the T20Is against Australia due to infrapatellar tendinopathy-pain. He returned in the third ODI against Australia, where he managed to bowl for four overs, and ever since has experienced mild discomfort in movement. 

Should either Magala or Norje be ruled out of the World Series, South Africa are likely to rope in Andile Phehlukwayo as a replacement. 

 Phehlukwayo played in the second and fifth ODIs against Australia. While he failed to make much of an impression in the first game, he scored a quickfire 38 and then picked 1 for 44 to finish strongly in the series finale. 

"Andile is one of a couple of guys who are part of a broader squad and today he showed us, especially with the bat, what we have seen in terms of his capability," Walter said. "That knock, you can look at it, and say it was match influencing. A total of 270 looks different to a total of 315 and he was a massive role-player in that. He took an important wicket with the ball as well. I am very happy that Andile was able to deliver that performance today."

South Africa’s quandary will be what to do in the event where both Nortje and Magala are ruled out of the World Series, particularly as Kagiso Rabada complained about ankle pain and had to sit out the final ODI. Even among the back ups, there are niggle complaints. Wayne Parnell- not a part of the World Series squad- is recovering from an elbow injury after also sustaining a shoulder niggle and has not played for Western Province (domestic side), but it is learnt that he is recovering well from both. Lizard Williams is another candidate, who is nursing a niggle. The South African international w2ho played in the T20I series but has just one ODI cap to his name and does not have Nortjes searing pace or Magala’s death bowling prowess."Lizaad is part of the T20 group and that's really it," Walter said.  

Walter also added left arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, though adding him to the squad would alter the make-up of South Africa’s bowling, which to a large degree is reliant on fast bowlers/pacers. 

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