The last year and a half have been tough for Dane van Niekerk as the South African all-rounder struggled with numerous injuries that derailed her involvement with the national side.
While she regained her fitness and recovered from the ankle injury that ruled her out of the ODI World Cup in New Zealand in 2022, the 29-year-old fell short by 18 seconds in the two-kilometre test by Cricket South Africa that denied her a chance to feature in the T20 World Cup at home last month.
"You don't have to put any pressure on yourself, I'm not here to show everyone or anyone that I should have played the World Cup or I should have done this - the should have, would have, could have. At the end of the day, I want to find myself and enjoy cricket again," she said, as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.
The all-rounder insisted that it has been challenging for her in the last season and wants to find the Dane she has been missing for a while in this Women's Premier League.
"I haven't played competitive cricket for such a long time. I just want to find the Dane that I've lost along the way with all the ups and downs. And there were a lot more downs than ups, so it's about finding that Dane, finding that edge again, the fearlessness," she said.
"When you go through these tiring times, you don't like the game as much. As a cricketer, everyone says if you don't enjoy it, it's probably time to call it off. I'm not there yet. But I want to find that love and that fun factor again, find the Dane that I missed, to be honest," she further added.
The South African player is also looking forward to learning from Smriti Mandhana, her Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper and getting to know the southpaw much better in this three-week-long competition.
"At such a young age, she's so composed when she bats, she's achieved so much. You think she's young, but the way she goes about it, I think I'd like to pick her brain. When I was that age, I didn't look at the game that way. She's definitely somebody I'd like to get to know better to see how she thinks about the game," she concluded.
After losing the opening clash of the tournament to Delhi Capitals by 60 runs, RCB will face the Mumbai Indians on Monday, March 7, at the Brabourne Stadium.