Kagiso Rabada will not play South Africa’s ODI series against India, with Cricket South Africa (CSA) looking to manage his workloads. In a statement on Tuesday evening, less than 24 hours before the first ODI in Paarl, CSA said Rabada was being released from the squad “due to high workloads over a sustained period of time and the need for him to recover prior the outbound Test series against New Zealand next month”.
Rabada has been playing in biosecure bubbles since early September, when he featured in three ODIs and three T20Is on South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka. Soon after, he headed over to the second half of IPL 2021 in the UAE, where he played eight games for Delhi Capitals. That tournament ran straight into the T20 World Cup. There was a break of a month and a half following the global tournament, then South Africa’s Tests against India kicked off on Boxing Day.
Now, the ODIs against India finish on January 23, and South Africa are set to leave for New Zealand on February 2, where they will have to undergo between 10 days and two weeks of quarantine. The two Tests against New Zealand start on February 17, and after that South Africa return home for two Tests against Bangladesh in mid-March.
In Rabada’s absence, Marco Jansen looks likely to make an ODI debut against India, barely a month after earning his first Test cap. Lungi Ngidi will lead the attack with the death-bowling skills of Sisanda Magala also likely to be called on. South Africa also have a wealth of seam-bowling allrounders to employ: Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo can all slot in as the fourth seam-bowling option, should conditions call for that many pace bowlers.
The selectors have also added more cover in the allrounders department, in the form of left-arm spinner George Linde. Linde was part of the Test squad against India, and has now been drafted in for the ODIs. CSA’s statement said: “No replacement will be brought in for [Rabada] as there is an extended squad in place in the Bio-Secure Environment (BSE), but George Linde has been retained from the Test team as an extra spin-bowling option for the series.”