Cape Town – The Proteas’ Women’s team management have committed to a hard-line fitness stance with former captain Dane van Niekerk’s being omitted from the ICC T20 Cup set to start in South Africa next month.
Van Niekerk has endured a long-standing battle to be ready for the much-anticipated tournament. She initially struggled with an ankle injury that ruled her out of the 50-overs ICC Cup in New Zealand last year.
Since then Cricket SA has set Van Niekerk certain fitness stipulations that she has unfortunately not been able to meet.
“Dane was given an extensive opportunity to meet the minimum criteria for the fitness benchmark,” Clinton du Preez, women’s selection convener said on Tuesday. “She recently did another fitness test and did not meet the minimum criteria and that’s why she has missed out.
“Dane did not meet the minimum requirement for the 2-kilometre time trial. The management assisted her into trying to get there but she did not meet the minimum requirement. The skill set of Dane as a cricketer will always be missed on the cricket field. We have reminded her of that. We also appreciate the effort she tried to put into meeting the fitness level.”
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Du Preez went further by stating that Cricket SA have been in consultation with Van Niekerk and a group of other players for a period of time to help them reach the minimum fitness standard.
“It’s about remaining consistent with our decisions,” he said. “Many other players have gone down this route. Everyone is quite familiar with the situation and what is required. In December, we set it out clearly with where she needs to be.”
Proteas Women gearing up for home Cup with Tri Series
Van Nierkerk was also omitted on fitness grounds from the Proteas Women’s squad that is currently playing a Tri-Series against the West Indies and India in East London.
All-rounder Sune Luus will therefore continue to lead the Proteas Women’s team as she has done for the most part since the resumption of international cricket at the Covid-19 enforced break two years ago.
Proteas 15 player squad for ICC Women’s T20 Cup South Africa 2023:
Suné Luus (Captain), Chloé Tryon (Vice-Captain), Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Annerie Dercksen, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Sinalo Jafta (wk), Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Nonkululeko Mlaba ,Delmi Tucker, Laura Wolvaardt.