SA vs Ban ODI series



Anrich Nortje, who is recovering from a hip injury, and Sisanda Magala, who failed a fitness test, were unavailable for selection

South Africa have named a full-strength squad, minus Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala for fitness reasons, for the upcoming home ODI series against Bangladesh.

The three-match series, which is to be played in Centurion and Johannesburg from March 18 to 23, concludes just three days before the start of the IPL, which could mean the South African players chosen for the ODIs could miss some of their franchises’ early matches.

A three-day quarantine is mandatory for all teams before they enter the IPL bubble, but this rule will be relaxed if players are arriving from another bubble. The South Africa-Bangladesh series is set to be played within a “managed environment”, which is more relaxed than a bio-bubble and which CSA used for its recent domestic T20 competition. This means players will be permitted to go to outdoor spaces including beaches, parks and open-air restaurants, and those South African players based in the Highveld, including Rabada, Ngidi and van der Dussen, may be permitted to stay at home, and not in the team hotel.

How this affects their quarantine requirements in the IPL is as yet unclear.

There is set to be a bigger clash between national commitments and the IPL, however, when South Africa play their Test series against Bangladesh, which is set to run from March 31 to April 12. CSA earlier confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the choice between the Test series and the IPL would be left to the players; Test captain Dean Elgar suggested the choice would show “where players’ loyalty lies”.

“The players in the one-day squad who are not playing in the Tests will likely leave for IPL after the ODI series,” Victor Mpitsang, CSA’s selection convenor, told ESPNcricinfo. “We will have more clarity on the six players who are part of the Test group in the next couple of days.”

It would seem that these six players are Rabada, Ngidi, van der Dussen, Markram, Jansen and Nortje, who is a part of South Africa’s Test plans but has missed their last two series against India and New Zealand because of a hip injury. He hasn’t played competitively since the T20 World Cup in November. It isn’t clear if he will recover in time to take part in the IPL, though it appears unlikely.

“It’s probably going to be difficult [for Nortje to go to the IPL],” Mpitsang said. “He has not really been bowling much since November. We don’t have any timeframe on his return. It’s been a long one. The medical team will give advice on whether he will be cleared for the IPL.”

According to Dr Shuaib Manjra, CSA’s chief medical officer, Nortje’s recovery path has been “frustrating”. “He is currently being investigated,” Manjra told ESPNcricinfo. “He has been seen by three different orthopaedic surgeons. He is struggling with loading and doing most of the other rehab work. He hasn’t bowled for over three months.

“He is not ready for the Bangladesh series. We don’t know about the IPL. I guess it’s frustrating. He keeps fit, he works extremely hard. All goes fine, except for when he picks up his bowling loads. He has got discomfort. We have identified three different problems between back and hip and we don’t know which is primary.”

Ngidi is also returning from injury, having missed both the Tests in New Zealand with a back issue. “We expect Lungi to be fit,” Manjra said.

Magala, meanwhile, has failed a fitness test.

The ODIs are part of the World Cup Super League where South Africa remain outside the automatic qualification zone in tenth position after dropping points in Ireland and Sri Lanka. Bangladesh, on the other hand, are on top of the table with 100 points from ten matches. They have never beaten South Africa in an ODI series in South Africa but won a series against them in Bangladesh in 2015. Bangladesh also have a significant South African backroom staff to strategise with. Russell Domingo, the former South Africa coach, is at the helm while Allan Donald, South Africa’s former bowling coach, joined Bangladesh ahead of this series.

South Africa squad: Temba Bavuma (capt), Keshav Maharaj (vice-capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), Zubayr Hamza, Marco Jansen, Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent


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