Monday, June 17, 2024

SA20 League: From Uitenhage to Chennai – Magala’s journey to the IPL via Betway SA20

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Photo Credit: SA20 League

It is 7 791 kilometres from Uitenhage to Chennai. 

For Sisanda Magala it may as well be 77 000 km for the Sunrisers Eastern Cape all-rounder is set to experience an entire new world when he arrives at the Indian Premier League next week to join up with the Chennai Super Kings.

Magala, 31, is gearing up for his first IPL experience after recently starring in the Betway SA20 for the Sunrisers Eastern Cape and subsequently the Proteas Men’s ODI and T20 teams.

Magala is certainly the shining example of the beacon of opportunity the BetwaySA20 provides a domestic player in South Africa.

The Sunrisers Eastern Cape all-rounder missed the initial part of the 2022-23 season due to fitness problems, but this did not deter the Gqeberha-based team to secure his dynamic services for R5.4 million at the Betway SA20 auction.

The 31-year-old repaid the Sunrisers in full with excellent performances throughout the maiden Betway SA20 campaign as he claimed 14 wickets, including 2/30 in the final against the Pretoria Capitals at the Wanderers, to drive the Eastern Cape team to the championship title.

Magala’s sparkling performances in the Betway SA20 were immediately recognised as call-ups to the Proteas’ squads for the home international summer followed.

The confidence gained during the Betway SA20 season from playing regularly against high-quality opposition certainly benefited Magala as he has excelled against both England and the West Indies.

But a greater reward was to follow for Magala as he achieved the “pinnacle” by being signed up by Chennai Super Kings for the upcoming IPL.

Magala has been called up to replace the injured New Zealand seamer Kyle Jamieson.

Magala will form part of a star-studded CSK squad that includes former India captain MS Dhoni, India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, England all-rounders Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali and also fellow South African Dwaine Pretorius.

Having only watched the IPL on television before, it is no surprise that Magala is “nervous” ahead travelling to India next week to join the biggest show in world cricket.

“I’m very happy to be given an opportunity to play in the IPL,” Magala said.

“When you get to specialise in white ball cricket, then it indeed becomes the pinnacle. It’s a massive opportunity, and to be honest, I’m very nervous.

“My mother lives in Uitenhage, so it’s a long way from home. I’m very nervous. It’s going to be two months — I haven’t been away from home for that long. 

“It’s new. I’ve asked a couple of guys who’ve played there how they coped and just their advice to handle situations. It’s a huge opportunity, so there will definitely be new learnings.

“I have been asking a lot of questions, but I’m nervous and excited at the same time.”

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