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South Africa’s Maharaj, Magala included in Cricket World Cup squad

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South Africa have included spinner Keshav Maharaj and seamer Sisanda Magala in their World Cup squad after the pair overcame fitness concerns, while wicketkeeper-batter Quinton de Kock announced he would retire from the format after the tournament.

Coach Rob Walter has included only seven players with past World Cup experience as South Africa seeks to lift a trophy that has eluded them in oftentimes bizarre circumstances since they made their debut in 1992.

The squad will be captained by batter Temba Bavuma, with Maharaj overcoming a ruptured Achilles. He played for the first time since March in South Africa’s five-wicket Twenty20 International loss to Australia on Sunday.

Magala had been laid low by a knee injury and missed that series, but his clever change of pace and guile with the ball will be an asset on Indian wickets.

Experienced all-rounder Wayne Parnell is a notable absentee but has been struggling with a shoulder injury, while young batters Dewald Brevis and Tristan Stubbs have not been selected.

South Africa goes into the tournament with two frontline spinners, Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, though batter Aiden Markram is a more than useful third option.

“It’s great having a mix of experienced players and players who will be competing in their first 50-over World Cup – you get that sort of exuberance of excitement to be doing something for the first time,” Walter said.

“Similar to the level of experience, we have endeavoured to curate a well-balanced group of players and skill that will allow us to effectively adapt to the conditions in India.”

The 30-year-old De Kock, who has already retired from Test cricket, confirmed he will not play One-Day Internationals beyond the World Cup.

“We understand his decision to step back from ODI cricket and we want to thank him for his service over the years,” South Africa’s director of cricket Enoch Nkwe said.

“We wish him well for the future but still look forward to seeing him represent the Proteas in T20 cricket.”

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