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Deadline looms for injured Magala and Nortje ahead of Proteas World Cup departure

Stuart Hess Sports reporter
Sisanda Magala faces a race against time to prove his fitness for the World Cup. The Proteas head to India on Saturday.
Sisanda Magala faces a race against time to prove his fitness for the World Cup. The Proteas head to India on Saturday.
Image: Charle Lombard/Gallo Images

Sisanda Magala and Anrich Nortjé will be given until Friday to prove their fitness for the World Cup, according to Proteas limited overs coach Rob Walter. 

The pair played very little part in the Proteas’ come from behind 3-2 series win against Australia that finished at the Wanderers on Sunday. Magala has been battling a knee injury since before the start of the series and only bowled seven overs in the third ODI in Potcheftroom.

Fast bowler Nortje, bowled five overs in the second match in Bloemfontein and left the field in that match with back spasms. He’s done little bowling since, but Walter said he would have a couple of sessions in the nets this week. 

“We are taking stock as to where both of those players are,” said Walter. “The mere fact that they weren’t playing today, less than a week before we board the plane, is obviously a cause for concern. We would have wanted them to be out there.”

Although he didn’t say it in so many words, Walter appeared more optimistic about Nortje’s chances of proving his fitness before the team departs on Saturday. There are no concerns about Nortje needing to increase his bowling loads as he has done a lot of bowling in the last few months. 

The case is not the same for Magala, whose knee injury is on the leg on which he lands and pivots when he bowls. He was noticeably uncomfortable even when running between the wickets while batting in Potchefstroom and has done very little training this week. 

Walter said he’d be in regular contact with CSA’s medical team throughout the week about the pair. Lizaad Williams will be called up should Nortje not recover, while Andile Phehlukwayo underlined his credentials on Sunday with a fine performance that included scoring an unbeaten 38 off 19 balls, in which he struck four sixes, three of which came in the final over. 

“Andile showed us today in terms of his capability, something that we saw a couple of years back. That knock to finish off the innings had a big influence on the match; a total of 270 looks very different to a total of 315 and he was a massive role-player with regards to that,” said Walter.

Phehlukwayo has been with the squad since the Bloemfontein leg of the series and has done more at training than Magala since joining. 

“It’s great that guys can come in and contribute, which is all we are after,” Walter added.