Dane van Niekerk, South Africa’s incumbent skipper, has been dropped from South Africa’s squad for the T20 World Cup after failing to meet Cricket South Africa's fitness requirements.
Van Niekerk, 29, suffered a broken ankle in January last year and has since not represented the national team. The injury forced her to miss the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand last year. In this period she featured in The Hundred, but continued to sit out national assignments due to not meeting the required fitness standards. Most recently, she was left out of South Africa’s squad for the tri-series against India and West Indies.
The 29-year-old would have made the cut had she passed all fitness tests, but failure to meet the minimum requirement for the 2-kilometre time trial has resulted in her getting excluded from the World Cup squad despite being the incumbent skipper.
In her absence, South Africa will be led by all-rounder Sune Luus.
"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."
Du Preez explained that the selection committee had no option but to leave van Niekerk out due to her failing the requirement for the 2-kilometre time trial. Van Niekerk is believed to have met all markers except the 2km time trial.
"It's about remaining consistent with our decisions," du Preez further 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."
Van Niekerk is the second big name to have fallen out of favor for failing to meet the fitness standards. Last year, Lizelle Lee abruptly retired from international cricket and later revealed that fears of being dropped and being denied NOC for leagues led to her decision.
South Africa Women squad for T20 World Cup
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