Meticulous preparation has been the common thread running through Sisanda Magala’s cricket career and he will not deviate from that pattern when he turns out for South Africa A next month.
The NMMU-Madibaz fast bowler, who has made a major impact for the Warriors franchise in recent seasons, has been included in the national squad for tours to Zimbabwe and Australia in July and August.
It is recognition of the way his game has developed in the last two years and it provided satisfying news for the 25-year-old Uitenhage-born player, who attended College Hill Prep and Muir College before linking up with NMMU.
“Yes, I was very happy to learn of my selection,” said Magala, who now lives with his brother Dumisani in Port Elizabeth. “It just proves that hard work, perseverance and gritty determination have helped me to achieve my goals.
“I have not played in Zimbabwe or Australia and we will be faced with different playing conditions. I will be doing a lot of preparation to make sure I cover all the bases.”
Having come through the ranks in the traditional manner, playing for the EP U13 and U19 teams, Magala made his first-class debut for Eastern Province in 2010.
At the same time, he established himself as one of the varsity’s frontline players, describing it as “an absolutely amazing experience” thanks to the input from the Madibaz personnel.
“Getting a bursary from NMMU was huge for me; it has been a good platform to help me excel. They have good facilities and guys working around the clock to help you.”
After several years at provincial level, he broke through to the Eastern Cape franchise team during the 2013/14 season and, a year later, was named the most promising player at the Warriors.
Last summer he developed into an invaluable member of the Warriors attack and finished the season with a flourish when he took eight wickets in their four-day victory over the Lions, including 6/23 in the first innings as their opponents tumbled to 68 all out.
It was a season in which the strongly built fast bowler learnt more about his game.
“I enjoyed the season with the Warriors. I worked very well with the team and had some good memories.
“Everyone is helpful and tries to bring out the best in their team-mates. What I learnt is that the margins for error are a lot smaller and that good preparation is essential.”
Looking back on how his career has progressed, Magala paid tribute to his family and a number of others.
“My girlfriend Simone has been a pillar of strength and helps me with time management. I have a weekly planner as I don’t like going in to something unprepared.
“While at Muir, and also later on, Runeshan Moodley has always been there for me with advice while Drikus Saaiman has been a good motivator and has helped in the gym.”
When he is not playing cricket, Magala takes his mind off the game by playing Xbox.
“If Xbox were a sport, I would have excelled at it,” he joked.
He also loves basketball, with his favourite team being the Chicago Bulls. It is therefore no surprise that watching the NBA finals in person is on his bucket list.
In the meantime, his focus is to continue an upward spiral in his career.
“I’m working on trying to improve every aspect of my game and focus increasingly on the mental side. I understand failure but I don’t accept it.
“I don’t want to be afraid to take risks and want to work continuously on my physical condition, because one of my ultimate goals is to bowl at 160km/h.”