Dane van Niekerk: South Africa all-rounder retires from international cricket
Former South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk has retired from international cricket.
She played 194 times for South Africa across three formats and was the first bowler to take 100 ODI wickets for the women’s team.
Van Niekerk, 29, was left out of South Africa’s squad for February’s Women’s T20 World Cup after failing “to meet the minimum criteria for fitness”.
She said she was “absolutely broken” by that decision.
Announcing her retirement “with great sadness”, Van Niekerk said: “It has been the greatest honour 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 fondly and have made incredible memories.
“Often the journey can be lonely, painful, and emotional, but would not change it for anything. I’m grateful for what this game has given me.”
Captain of South Africa in all formats since 2016, Van Niekerk last played international cricket in September 2021.
She suffered an ankle injury in early 2022 and, after failing to make the squad for the triangular T20 series against West Indies and India in January, was given the opportunity to prove her fitness before the World Cup.
However, Cricket South Africa said she did not meet the required time for a 2km run.
Van Niekerk’s wife and fellow all-rounder Marizanne Kapp, who was named in the squad, was given “compassionate leave” before the tournament to be with Van Niekerk.
South Africa were beaten by 19 runs by Australia in the World Cup final.
Van Niekerk, the only female South Africa player to score 1,500 runs and take 50 wickets in women’s T20s, said: “To all the players that I had the privilege to have shared the dressing room and competed with, I will hold on to the memories dearly.
“We are merely custodians of this sport; I hand it over knowing I have given it my everything and that women’s cricket is in a better place than when I arrived.
“That must be the responsibility of the new group, to always make sure you are improving and making a difference.
“It is time for me to support the new leadership and wish them all the very best.
“There is no doubt that the women’s game is in an exciting space and looking forward to seeing 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.