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South African women’s team skipper Dane van Niekerk left out of the T20 world cup after failing fitness test

Dane van Niekerk (Getty Images)

South Africa have announced their squad for the Women’s T20 World Cup in February, with Dane van Niekerk left out after “failing to meet the minimum criteria for fitness.”

Van Niekerk, who has been the captain in all formats since 2016, was last seen playing international cricket in September 2021. She was given an opportunity to prove her fitness but ultimately failed. Sune Luus will take the captaincy in her absence.

Van Niekerk expressed her disappointment on social media, saying she was “absolutely broken” to be missing out. The all-rounder was the only South African female cricketer to have scored more than 1,500 runs and taken more than 50 wickets in the women’s T20 internationals.

South Africa were semi-finalists at the previous T20 World Cup in 2020, where they were knocked out by eventual champions Australia.

Van Niekerk’s omission comes after South African batter Lizelle Lee retired from international cricket midway through the series against England, claiming that failing a weight test was a “significant factor” in her decision to step away.

It is clear that fitness is a key factor in the squad selection and South Africa are hoping to improve on their semi-final finish in the previous tournament.

The squad consists of Sune Luus (capt), Chloe Tryon (vice-capt), Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Laura Wolvaardt, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Delmi Tucker, Annerie Dercksen.

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