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Nortje Notably Missing from CSA Contract List

Nortje Notably Missing from CSA Contract List

Cricket South Africa announced its list of contracted men’s players on Tuesday, and several names were notably absent. Quinton de Kock, an all-format star until December 2021, now limits his play to T20Is, and test specialist Dean Elgar has retired. Sisanda Magala and Wayne Parnell each appeared in just seven of South Africa’s 33 white-ball matches last year, with Keegan Petersen playing in only two of their four Tests. The absence of Anrich Nortje, however, prompts questions.

Despite his all-format capabilities, Nortje participated in only nine of the 37 games due to a lumbar stress fracture sidelining him from September 10 last year to March 7 this year. At 30, he’s at the peak of his career, standing out as one of the fastest and most effective bowlers. Since his Test and ODI debuts in October and March 2019, only Kagiso Rabada has taken more wickets for South Africa in those formats. Furthermore, no current teammate surpasses Nortje’s T20I economy rate.

Nortje recently returned to action in the CSA T20 Challenge, playing three matches for Eastern Province and maintaining an economy rate of 6.83. Following the birth of his first child last Tuesday, he joined Delhi Capitals for what promises to be a demanding IPL season. Given his return to fitness for the IPL, questions arise about his absence from CSA’s contract list. It appears Nortje has chosen to focus on T20 cricket, both franchise and international, for most of this year, with plans to return to ODIs by the end of 2024. This strategy is understandable, given his injury history, including missing the 2019 IPL and the last two World Cups. While Nortje has not retired from international cricket, his future in Test matches remains uncertain.

Nortje Removed from CSA Contract list

The T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States in June still features in Nortje’s plans. The event might also mark Quinton de Kock’s final appearance for South Africa, contingent on selection. De Kock’s recent form, including a remarkable 44-ball 100 against West Indies, contrasts with his subsequent performances. He knows he must improve to secure a spot in the T20 World Cup squad.

Kyle Verreynne and David Bedingham might feel overlooked for contracts despite their consistent performances. Nandre Burger and Tony de Zorzi, meanwhile, are the newcomers among the 18 contracted players, a reduction from last year’s 20. Andile Phehlukwayo’s return to the centrally contracted group, despite limited appearances last year, was another highlight.

The women’s contracted list expanded to 16 players, with Ayanda Hlubi and Eliz-Mari Marx earning their first contracts. The absence of Shabnim Ismail, who has retired, was the only notable point from the women’s announcement.

CSA’s contracted players reflect the evolving landscape of South African cricket, with emerging talents gaining recognition and veterans reconsidering their career trajectories amidst the physical demands of the sport.

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