South African pacers Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala’s participation in the upcoming World Cup is in doubt due to fitness concerns. The duo is yet to prove their fitness before the team’s departure for India on 23 September.
Uncertain World Cup Participation for Nortje and Magala
Despite being included in the 15-member squad for the marquee event, Nortje and Magala have only played in one of the five home ODIs against Australia. South Africa emerged victorious in the series with a 3-2 scoreline.
Nortje’s appearance was cut short in the second ODI due to back spasms after bowling just five overs. Although he returned to the field in the second innings, his back injury ruled him out for the rest of the series.
Magala, on the other hand, is struggling with a knee injury. His only appearance was in the third ODI against Australia, where he bowled a mere four overs.
Concerns Over Injured Players’ Participation
South Africa’s white-ball coach, Rob Walter, expressed his concerns to ESPNCricinfo after the Australia series. He highlighted the complications of including injured players in a World Cup squad, as a medical reason would be required to swap them out.
The absence of Nortje and Magala in the final match, with only a week left before the World Cup, is a cause for concern, Walter added.
Potential Replacement for Injured Pacers
If either Nortje or Magala is deemed unfit for the World Cup, South Africa may consider all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo as a replacement. Phehlukwayo recently demonstrated his prowess in the second and fifth ODIs against Australia, taking a wicket in each match and scoring a quick 38* off 19 balls in the fifth ODI.
The deadline for submitting changes to the World Cup squad to the ICC is 28 September.
South Africa’s Preliminary World Cup Squad
The initial squad includes: Temba Bavuma (c), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Sisanda Magala, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.