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INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE

Lungi Ngidi ruled out of IPL as T20 World Cup fast-bowling contention heats up

Lungi Ngidi ruled out of IPL as T20 World Cup fast-bowling contention heats up
Right-arm fast bowler Lungi Ngidi has been ruled out of the IPL with a lower back injury. It's a blow to his selection hopes for the T20 World Cup later this year. (Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Proteas quick Lungi Ngidi has been released by the Delhi Capitals for the Indian Premier League and been replaced by Aussie Jake Fraser-McGurk.

The start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is a week away and South Africa will have one fewer representative at the biggest franchise T20 league in the world after Proteas pacer Lungi Ngidi was released by Delhi Capitals as he continues his recovery from a lower back injury.

Ngidi has been replaced by Australian big-hitting opening batter Jake Fraser-McGurk at the Capitals.

South Africa will still be represented at the Delhi Capitals with Anrich Nortje — who only recently returned from a back injury of his own — expected to play a big role with the ball for the side.

Tristan Stubbs is in line to make his debut for the Capitals in the IPL after an impressive season in the SA20 for the Sunrisers Eastern Cape.

Ngidi suffered the lower-back injury at the backend of the SA20 and is currently being monitored by the Cricket South Africa (CSA) medical team and undergoing rehab with his provincial team, the Titans.

He is expected to return to play in the second half of the ongoing CSA T20 Challenge in April.

The IPL is an important barometer for form, with the T20I World Cup in USA and the Caribbean starting less than a week after the final on 29 May.

South Africa’s best talents will therefore not be available for the three-match T20I series against West Indies in May — the Proteas’ only scheduled T20I matches prior to the global tournament.

The national team is likely to play their full-strength team together for the first time during the World Cup when they face Sri Lanka in their opening match on 3 June.

The South African contingent at the IPL is made up of the core of the national team.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cricket South Africa aiming to increase player pool with hybrid contracts

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Proteas T20I skipper Aiden Markram is one of three vital cogs of the national side that will ply their trade at the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL this season.

Markram recently led the South African Sunrisers franchise (Sunrisers Eastern Cape) to their second consecutive SA2o win but has been stripped of the IPL side’s captaincy after the side ended last season at the foot of the 10-team table.

Australian Test and One Day International skipper Pat Cummins has taken over the reins.

Destructive wicket-keeper batter Heinrich Klaasen and multi-dimensional all-rounder Marco Jansen are the other two South Africans who will be looking to carry their scintillating T20 form from the SA20 over to India.

Fast-bowling threat

South Africa’s fast-bowling stocks are extremely healthy currently and with Nortje returning from injury, he has only added to it.

Gerald Coetzee and Nandre Burger are the new kids on the block, looking to prove their mettle at the IPL for the first time representing Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals respectively.

Nandre Burger

Left-arm fast bowler Nandre Burger. (Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)

Coetzee is coming off an injury lay-off that saw him miss the entirety of the SA20 while Burger has continued his form that saw him debut in all three formats for the Proteas in the space of a month against India recently.

Warhorse Kagiso Rabada will be playing for the Punjab Kings in the IPL and, barring injury, is a sure bet to hop on the plane for the T20 World Cup.

South Africa can only take 15 players to the World Cup and a place for one of the limited fast-bowling slots seems to be the most hotly contested.

On the domestic and the SA20 front, Ottniel Baartman and Lizaad Williams have been in red-hot form.

Including Nortje, Ngidi and Jansen, there are eight top-class options white-ball coach Rob Walter has the difficult decision to choose from while his only barometer for selection is franchise and domestic form. DM

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