“I just want respect,” Magala

“I just want respect,” Magala

Magala earned a tremendous amount of attention for someone who did not play for the Proteas last summer. His performances with the DP World Lions (Central Gauteng) on the field earned him the Division 1 One-day Cup Player of the Season, the Domestic Players’ Player of the Season, and the SA Cricketers Association Most Valuable Player Award. He took the most wickets in the One-Day competition, which the Lions won, but it wasn’t the primary reason for all the commotion surrounding Magala.

When the national selectors announced the Proteas squad for the ODI series against Bangladesh in March, Cricket South Africa made a point to explain why Magala was not included: he had failed a fitness test. It was an unusual tactic to “out” a player so publicly, and it damaged Magala.

“I am 31 years of age, not 22… Magala stated this week, “I am not physically talented, but that has never stopped me from performing on the cricket field.”

During the offseason, it took him a long time to comprehend all the controversy that occurred. A few days after the selection announcement, he played a one-day match for the Lions against the Warriors and took 6/55.

Magala felt that Cricket South Africa changed the goalposts in terms of his fitness requirements, a sentiment that was privately shared by the Lions’ management.

Provincial coaches are confident that there would be uniformity over what was a divisive subject in local cricket circles. Cricket SA has established clearer fitness requirements for the upcoming season.

Magala believes that last year’s issue has hindered his chances of earning more international caps.

“I don’t know (about playing for the Proteas); I’m not saying it’s not a priority, but the way the goalposts have been shifted, there are many obstacles… However, this has not prevented me from wanting to play for the Proteas.”

In the Lions locker room, neither his value nor his match preparation are in question.

“Sisanda is one of the most mentally tough players I’ve ever coached,” said Lions head coach Wandile Gwavu. “He is crystal clear about what he wants to accomplish, and he is working extremely hard behind the scenes. There are no difficulties with his work ethic. There may have been work ethic concerns in the past, but none exist today.

Dale Steyn, a Proteas great, has been a major ally for Magala in recent years.

“He was tweeting about me before I ever played for Cape Town Blitz (in the Mzansi Super League). People are unaware of his greatness as a human being. He is a terrific role model because of his accomplishments in the game and his character.

To further demonstrate how highly Steyn regards Magala, the former Proteas fast bowler, who is now a member of the Sunrisers Eastern Cape coaching staff, pushed the team’s ownership to spend R5.4 million on Magala for the upcoming SA20 competition in January.

Magala concedes that he was surprised. “I did not anticipate going for that. My agent estimated where I would most likely end up. I was only interested in participating in the tournament.

Magala will remain in the limelight as the top eight provincial sides prepare to begin the 2022/23 season in Potchefstroom on Monday with the CSA T20 Challenge.

“One of the things that people don’t like to admit is that there will be pressure… you have to perform, and if you don’t, there will be this and that” (criticism). But it’s part of the game; you must accept both the good and the bad.”

Magala has complimented Prasanna Agoram, the Lions’ performance analyst, with offering him with candid feedback on his performance, whether it be about bowling too many no-balls or allowing himself to bat more freely.

“He indicated that while I was batting, I was holding back a bit, wanting to take too much time, while there was a chance to end the game now. He desires that I embrace my intuition and play fearlessly.”

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