South Africa’s cricket team has suffered a significant setback ahead of the Cricket World Cup (CWC23), with key pacers Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala ruled out due to fitness issues. Despite being named in the original 15-member squad, both players were unable to recover in time following the home series against Australia.
Loss of Experienced Pacer
Nortje, who also missed the 2019 World Cup due to a fractured thumb, is a seasoned player with extensive experience in Indian conditions. Known as one of the fastest bowlers in international cricket, his absence is a significant blow to the Proteas’ World Cup aspirations.
South Africa is aiming for its first-ever World Cup victory in the upcoming multi-team event in India. Nortje’s absence, following a rest during the T20I series and an early exit in the first ODI against Australia, will undoubtedly be felt by the team.
Replacement Pacers Step In
Andile Phehlukwayo and Lizaad Williams have been called up as replacements for the injured fast bowlers. Phehlukwayo has already shown his worth in two ODIs against Australia, securing a wicket in each match. He also demonstrated his batting skills with a notable 19-ball 38 in the series decider.
Despite the loss of Nortje and Magala, the Proteas’ pace attack remains strong, with five pacers led by Kagiso Rabada. Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi, and Gerald Coetzee round out the fast bowling lineup.
Team Adjustments and Coach’s Remarks
Experienced left-arm pacer Wayne Parnell, initially left out of the 15-member squad, is currently nursing an elbow injury and a shoulder niggle. Head coach Rob Walter expressed disappointment at the loss of Nortje and Magala, but remained optimistic about the opportunities for Phehlukwayo and Williams.
Walter commented, “Both Andile and Lizaad have been part of our winter programs and represented South Africa in the recent white-ball tour against Australia. They offer great skill sets and we’re excited to have them complete the 15-player squad for this year’s World Cup.”
World Cup Campaign Kickoff
The South African squad is set to depart for India on Saturday, 23 September, with their World Cup campaign commencing against Sri Lanka in Delhi on 7 October.
Updated South African Squad
The revised South African squad includes: Temba Bavuma (c), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Lizaad Williams.