Sisanda Magala. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
- Sisanda Magala, Ryan Rickelton, Marco Jansen and Bjorn Fortuin as the newcomers to the Proteas’ group of nationally contracted players.
- Cricket South Africa have also managed to convince Dean Elgar to continue despite his demotion as Test captain.
- Andile Phehlukwayo’s difficult period comes to a head as he misses out.
Sisanda Magala newfound prominence in the Proteas bowling group has been confirmed after Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced him as one of three new nationally contracted players for next season.
The burly but influential Lions quick has been in the national selection frame for years though he was previously dogged by fitness requirements before coming right recently.
He notably produced a match-winning spell in the first ODI against England in Bloemfontein and will be a key figure in the upcoming white-ball assignments against the West Indies, where Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje will be rested.
CSA have also awarded a contract to Ryan Rickelton, who’s been a focal point in terms of Proteas selection debates over the past months, while it will be hoped that the faith shown in Tristan Stubbs – the SA20’s most expensive player who struggled for runs in the inaugural tournament – translates into a return to big-hitting form.
Heinrich Klaasen has been upgraded after appearing in several formats during the season and wily Wayne Parnell deserves a deal following a year where he’s become an understated, reliable member of the white-ball teams.
The lanky Marco Jansen, after a great start to his international career, is also given the nod, while Bjorn Fortuin looks set to challenge the spin bowling group in the ODI and T20 setups.
Nationally contracted group
Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Marco Jansen, Sisanda Magala, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Keegan Petersen, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen
Tellingly, red-ball coach Shukri Conrad and co have convinced Dean Elgar to stay on after a few weeks of speculation over his international future after being replaced as Test captain by Temba Bavuma.
The feisty left-hand opener has almost nine months of off-time before South Africa’s next Test assignment, against India in December, and Conrad expressed his hope that Elgar could clinch a proper English county deal to revitalise his verve.
Enoch Nkwe, CSA’s director of cricket said:
“The number of contracted players has increased from 16 to 20 this season to ensure that we have a wider pool of white-ball specialists and Test players. We look forward to seeing them compete at the highest level in what is an important next 12 months for the limited-overs and Test sides, with the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup taking place later this year as well as the start of the new World Test Championship cycle.”
Meanwhile, CSA’s patience with Andile Phehlukwayo has run out.
The all-rounder was hailed as a potentially dynamic option for the national team after making his debut at at age 20 back in 2016.
Across all formats, the 27-year-old has played 116 internationals, but has endured three extremely lean years as was considered lucky to be retained on a central contract this season.
Phehluwayo was notably not drafted initially in the SA20 auction (before coming on board as replacement at Paarl Royals) though his real nadir was when he was selected as part of the standby group for last year’s ICC T20 World Cup, only to see Jansen swoop in ahead of him when the Proteas needed to replace an injured Dwaine Pretorius.
At his age, he should be in his prime.
Instead, Phehlukwayo is languishing at the Dolphins, where his form has hardly warranted any look-in by the national hierarchy.
He is in the ODI squad for the Windies series.
Janneman Malan, still the ICC’s emerging player of the year in early 2022, is also no longer among the contracted group.