Dane van Niekerk: the versatile South African retires from international cricket

Dane van Niekerk led Oval Invincibles to the Hundred title in 2021

Former South African captain Dane van Niekerk has retired from international cricket.

She bowled 194 times for South Africa in three formats and was the first bowler to win 100 ODI wickets for the women’s team.

Van Niekerk, 29, was expelled from the South African squad for February’s T20 Women’s World Cup after failing “to meet minimum fitness criteria”.

She said she was “absolutely shattered” by the decision.

Announcing his retirement “with great sadness”, Van Niekerk said: “It has been the greatest honor to lead and represent my country. I am incredibly blessed to have led the team through its transformative years.

“I look back on my career with emotion and I have created incredible memories.

“A lot of times the journey can be lonely, painful and emotional, but that wouldn’t change that. I’m grateful for what this game has given me.”

Captaining South Africa in all formats since 2016, Van Niekerk last played international cricket in September 2021.

She suffered an ankle injury at the start of 2022 and, after failing to make the T20 triangle series squad against West Indies and India in January, was given the opportunity to prove her fitness ahead of the FIFA Cup. world.

However, Cricket South Africa said they failed to meet the required time for a 2km run.

Van Niekerk’s wife and fellow all-rounder Marizanne Kapp, who was named to the team, was given “compassionate leave” before the tournament to be with Van Niekerk.

South Africa were beaten by 19 points by Australia in the World Cup final.

Van Niekerk, the only South African player to score 1,500 runs and take 50 wickets in the Women’s T20s, said: “To all the players I have had the privilege of sharing the locker room with and competing with, I will keep memories dearly.

“We are just the guardians of this sport; I pass it on knowing that I have given it my all and that women’s cricket is in a better place than when I arrived.

“It must be the responsibility of the new group, to always make sure you improve and make a difference.

“It’s time for me to support the new management and wish them the best.

“There is no doubt that women’s football is in an exciting space and I can’t wait to see this beautiful game that I love grow.”

Van Niekerk played for Oval Invincibles in The Hundred and is currently involved in the Women’s Indian Premier League (WPL) with Royal Challengers Bangalore.

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