World Cup 2023: Anrich Nortje, Sisanda Magala ruled out of the tournament with injuries

South Africa pacers Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala have been ruled out of the upcoming ODI World Cup, scheduled to begin in India from october 5, with injuries. Norje, arguably the fastest bowler in world cricket at the moment, could have been a lethal option for South Africa as they aim to win their first World Cup title, however, the 29-year-old will not make the trip to India due to a back injury.

Nortje recently played in the second ODI in the five-match series against Australia at home. He bowled five overs before walking off citing back spasm. He did not return to bowl but came out to bat in the second innings and scored 10 runs off 13 balls. Nortje was ruled out of the remainder of the series as the Proteas did not want to risk him ahead of the World Cup. For the unversed, Nortje was named in South Africa’s 15-member squad for the showpiece event.

Nortje’s ability to bowl at 150kph and above makes him a deadly weapon, especially with Kagiso Rabada blowing hot and cold in recent times. The right-arm pacer has played 22 ODIs for South Africa and picked up 36 wickets at an average of 27.28 and a strike rate of 27.94. Replacing a pacer of his class will not be easy for Temba Bavuma’s men. However, the 22-year-old Gerald Coetzee in their squad, who has shown the potential to hit speeds in excess of 145 kph on a regular basis during his young international career, remains one of their options to fill Nortje’s void.

Meanwhile, Magala also suffered a knee injury during the third ODI in the series against Australia. It was Magala’s only appearance in the series and he could bowl only four overs in the encounter. The 32-year-old is also a decent batter, who can come in handy lower down the order.

The Proteas might consider bringing in Andile Phehlukwayo as a like-for-like replacement for Magala. Phehlukwayo played in the second and fifth ODIs of the five-match Australia series at home, scoring 39 runs and picking two wickets in the two games combined. His unbeaten 38 of 19 assisted South Africa push their total past 300 in the final game, which they won by 122 runs eventually to clinch the series 3-2 in sparkling fashion after being 0-2 behind at the start.