Chennai Super Kings have secured the services of South Africa fast bowler Sisanda Magala in a surprising signing ahead of the IPL 2023 season. The Proteas quick replaces the injured New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson.
Jamieson was secured at INR 1 crore by Chennai in the IPL auction last year, but the tall, lanky pacer has been out of action for a while with a back stress fracture that he copped ahead of the England Test series.
Who is Sisanda Magala?
Magala is a rookie at IPL level and has only appeared in a few games for South Africa in T20Is. The 32-year-old, however, had a stellar performance to show for in the recently concluded SA20 league in South Africa, where he played a pivotal role in IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad's SA20 franchise, the Sunrisers Eastern Cape, winning the title.
Magala was the fifth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament's inaugural edition, finishing with 14 wickets at an economy rate of 8.68.
The short-statured bowler has a reputation for being a terrific exponent of the yorker and generates good pace from a short run-up. He was sizzling in the death and powerplay overs for Sunrisers in the SA20 and CSK are hoping that he can fill in a similar role for them in IPL 2023.
Magala is known for his composure in the death overs and has good variations and a brilliant yorker. His bowling would be key for CSK on the quicker wickets in the North of India in this season of the IPL.
Can CSK fit him into the XI?
It remains to be seen how CSK manage to fit Magala into the playing XI, though. With each team allowed to play just four overseas quicks, Magala's inclusion will be subject to the makeup of the rest of the side.
CSK have Ben Stokes, Devon Conway and Moeen Ali as near-locks for three of the four overseas spots. Maheesh Theekshana, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Matheesha Pathirana and Magala will likely fight it out for the one remaining spot in the XI.
Magala was unsold at the IPL auction in December with a base price of INR 50 lakhs. However, a stellar season with the SA20 has brought the limelight on the South African and he was duly rewarded with a maiden IPL contract.
Notably, the pacer has a huge fan base with former South Africa legendary pace bowler Dale Steyn a vocal supporter of the fast bowler.
At 32 years of age, Magala is also very experienced, a quality that CSK have always loved. He has played over 300 matches at domestic level across formats and also has a reputation for hitting big sixes lower down the order.
Will Magala arrive in time for IPL?
South African players who play the ODI series against Netherlands are set to arrive late in the IPL. The series is a crucial one that would determine if the Proteas qualify automatically for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in India in 2023.
Failing to win the series against Netherlands would mean South Africa playing the qualifying round in Zimbabwe. As such, the players picked for this series will miss the initial few games at the IPL.
While the squad for it hasn't been named yet, Magala is a centrally contracted player who was in the last ODI team that South Africa announced. This could mean CSK missing his services early on in the season.