Sisanda Magala says missing the domestic T20 Challenge for fitness reasons had a significant impact on his mental health.
The Central Gauteng Lions pace bowler failed CSA’s fitness test that requires players to run a 2km time trial in less than eight minutes and 30 seconds, taking 8:42.
Magala did pass the test this week, though, and is playing for the Lions in their 4-Day Series match against the North West Dragons in Potchefstroom.
“Yoh … it was … can I say nuts? It was a crazy, emotional rollercoaster ride. I was very angry, very frustrated, many emotions went through my head,” Magala told Rapport newspaper about his time on the sidelines.
“I kept quiet. Even my girlfriend tried to find out what was really wrong, but I didn’t talk. I didn’t want to. I wanted to work out the process myself.”
The 2km time trial fitness test has been strictly enforced at the Proteas, but until this season was only used as a guideline in domestic cricket, which is why Magala was able to play for the Lions when ineligible for national selection.
The 31-year-old doesn’t believe running should be used to determine fitness in cricket.
“I know I have this bulky body, but I have never used it as an excuse to bowl less, or to do less work,” he said.
“Cricket is about skills. The players who display their skills the best will win matches and tournaments for you.
“Fitness is a big aspect of it, but when you talk about fitness you have to look at the bigger picture. In South African cricket they now only see fitness as running. And when do you run 2km in a game? You don’t. The maximum distance that you will run at full speed is 300 or 400m, when you chase a ball to the boundary.
“Yes, I have had my struggles with fitness. I have some personal demons when it comes to this. I simply have to get over this hurdle. Emotionally and psychologically it is very exhausting.”