South Africa duo Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala’s World Cup chances are hanging in the balance after both of them suffered injuries just a few days before the start of the marquee event. The thirteenth edition of the ICC ODI World Cup is scheduled to start on October 5 and both the players are in a race against time to be fit for the event.
Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala will undergo fitness tests this week to determine their availability for the tournament. Earlier this month, both of them were named in South Africa’s initial 15-member squad for the tournament. However, they could play in only one match of the five-ODI series against Australia due to injuries.
While Anrich Nortje suffered a lower-back injury, Magala is down with a left knee injury. The Proteas will take a final call on the pacers’ availability for the World Cup before leaving for India on September 23. While they are still in contention to play the World Cup, their chances are not looking very bright at the moment.
“We are continually taking stock as to where both of those players are,” Rob Walter, South Africa’s white-ball coach said after the fifth ODI against Australia.
“The fact that they weren’t playing today with a week to go before we board the plane for the World Cup 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 Cup because then you have to provide a medical reason to be swapped out,” he added.
Anrich Nortje’s absence to be a big blow for South Africa:
In case Anrich Nortje fails to recover from the lower-back injury, it will be a huge blow for South Africa who are eyeing their first-ever World Cup title. The pacer is not only one of the best fast bowlers in the world but also has ample experience bowling in India thanks to his stint in the IPL where he plays for Delhi Capitals.
He was rested for the T20I series against Australia and missed the first ODI too before returning to action in the second game. However, he could bowl only five before walking off the field and did not play in the remaining three games. Anrich Nortje was due to begin bowling again with the coaching staff this weekend.
Magala is also looking highly doubtful for the World Cup. The pacer was sidelined since early April after splitting the webbing in his hand at the IPL. He was then ruled out of the T20I series against Australia due to the knee injury before playing in the third ODI where he bowled only four overs and experienced pain in his knee again.
With Anrich Nortje and Magala looking doubtful for the World Cup, Andile Phehlukwayo is in contention to be added to the South Africa squad despite losing his national contract earlier this year. The allrounder played in the second and fifth ODIs against Australia.
“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,” he added.
South Africa are scheduled to open their campaign in the World Cup on October 7 against Sri Lanka in Delhi.