India are set to tour South Africa for three Tests and three ODIs, starting with the Boxing Day Test in Centurion. The Virat Kohli-led Indian team will be without the services of Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Shubman Gill, all of whom are out with injuries.
South Africa have announced a 21-member squad for the Test series, led by Dean Elgar. However, the hosts have been dealt a massive jolt with tearaway quick Anrich Nortje ruled out of the series. Nortje has been ruled out of all three Tests against India due to a 'persistent injury'.
South Africa have decided not to name a replacement for Nortje, however.
South African test squad for 3-test series against India
Led by Dean Elgar, South Africa boast a 20-member squad with limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma as Elgar's deputy. Keeper-batter Quinton de Kock is set to miss at least the third test for the birth of his child.
Uncapped Sisanda Magala in the Test squad
Quite a few new names feature in South Africa's test squad to take on India. Sarel Erwee, Marco Jansen, Glenton Stuurman, Prenelan Subrayen, Sisanda Magala and Ryan Rickelton comprise the six names who are uncapped at the test level. While Sisanda Magala and Glenton Stuurman have played white ball internationals for South Africa, the rest are yet to play an international game.
Sisanda Magala is one of the more promising bowling all-rounders in South Africa. He is highly rated for his death bowling skills and has earned the praise of none other than Dale Steyn himself.
Who is Sisanda Magala?
Born on January 7, 1991 in Port Elizabeth, Sisanda Magala represents the Lions in first-class cricket, having originally played for Eastern Province. Just over two weeks shy of his 31st birthday, Magala has represented South Africa in four T20 internationals and a solitary ODI.
Magala made his T20I debut against Pakistan in April earlier this year in Johannesburg, while his lone ODI came against the Netherlands in Centurion last month.
Sisanda Magala has picked up three wickets in T20Is so far, but never got the opportunity to bowl on his ODI debut with rain having the final say. The rest of the series against the Netherlands was then suspended owing to border closures in South Africa as a result of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Magala bowls with decent pace and hits the deck hard. He is especially known to possess an accurate yorker, making him a specialist in the death overs. Magala is also no mug with the bat and is capable of hitting a long ball when required.
However, one persistent issue with Magala is that he tends to overstep far too often—a trait that was evident during the T20 series against Pakistan earlier this year. This aspect of his game reflected in his economy rate of 9.85 in that series, even as he exhibited his prowess with the yorker in the slog overs.
How do Sisanda Magala's first-class numbers stack up?
Having made his first-class debut way back in 2010, Sisanda Magala is quite an experienced campaigner in the format. Magala has accounted for 261 wickets from 89 first-class games, at an average of 29.91 and a solid strike-rate of 49.6. The numbers point towards him being a wicket-taking force in red ball cricket, something that South Africa could do with in the absence of Anrich Nortje.
However, Magala has found himself on the wrong side of a few fitness issues as well. So much so that his T20I debut was delayed owing to his withdrawal from previous series due to injury struggles. Now that he has made the Test squad, he will be itching to get out there and prove himself at the sport's pinnacle format.
With seven half-centuries and a top score of 79, Sisanda Magala can chip in with valuable runs as well. Magala usually bats at no. 8 for the Lions in first-class cricket and is capable of frustrating the opposition attack.
Will Magala feature in the XI against India?
With Anrich Nortje ruled out of the test series against India, it has put Sisanda Magala in the mix for a test debut. However, a certain Duanne Olivier might well partner Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi in the first test, with Olivier back in contention post the end of his Kolpak deal.
That said, with solid numbers to back his case, Sisanda Magala could well be thrown into the cauldron if South Africa turn to their bench for options. There is something about debutant fast-bowlers and success against India, and if that narrative were to continue, Magala could be the next name to be added to that list.