South Africa’s express fast-bowler, Anrich Nortje has officially been ruled out of the 2023 ICC ODI World Cup, hosted by India. The pacer had picked up a back spasm during the second ODI in the five-match ODI series against the Australian side.
The loss of Nortje could prove to be a crucial one as the South African side will be looking to go into the tournament and secure their first-ever World Cup. Nortje who is one of South Africa’s better bowlers could prove to be a big loss as the side does not have a fast bowler of the same quality to partner the likes of Kagiso Rabada.
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Despite Nortje showing his resilience and coming out to bat in the second innings, the management took the call to rule him out for the rest of the series and assess the possibility of his return for the World Cup. He along with Rabada has formed a lethal partnership across all formats and is feared by the best batters for their pace.
Along with Nortje, fellow pacer, Sisanda Magala is also ruled out of the World Cup due to a knee injury he suffered during the third ODI against Australia. The pacer had made the lone appearance in the third ODI but picked up the injury after bowling only four overs in the game. Magala has been reputed for his death bowling abilities and being able to contribute down the order with his power-hitting abilities.
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As per Cricket South Africa’s post on X (formerly known as Twitter), Andile Phehlukwayo and Lizaad Williams are the replacements for the injured duo. The former had featured for the South African side in the 2019 World Cup where he played 9 games, scored 156 runs and took 11 wickets across the tournament. The experienced all-rounder might not be able to replicate the pace of Nortje but he brings a different skillset in the bowling department and can provide handy contributions with the bat.
As quoted in an IANS report, South African head coach, Rob Walter said, “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. That knock, you can look at it, and say it was match influencing.”
Andile had managed to score a quickfire 38 off 19 balls in the final ODI against Australia which helped the South African side reach a total of 315 runs in their quota of 50 overs. He also managed to pick up a wicket in the second innings as they managed to secure a win by 122 runs, thereby winning the series 3-2.
Lizaad Williams is still inexperienced and much is to be known about the bowler as he has only played one ODI to date. However, Williams has featured for the South African T20 side where he picked up four wickets in a span of three games.