Former South Africa captain Dané van Niekerk has confirmed her retirement from all forms of international cricket.
News broke about her decision to walk away from the sport after the allrounder shared a cryptic post on social media while in India for the Women’s Premier League last week. Her teammate and partner Marizanne Kapp confirmed her decision in a post-match presentation interview.
Speaking after the Delhi Capitals vs Gujarat Giants Women’s Premier League match on Saturday, Kapp said, “Sometimes it feels like I am the one who’s retiring, just so heartbreaking. We’ve grown up in the South Africa team. It was difficult to hear the decision. She seems in a better place mentally and that’s what matters.”
In a career that spanned over more than 14 years, van Niekerk played 107 One-Day Internationals, 86 T20 Internationals and a single Test match against India in 2014.
Beginning her career in March 2009, the 29-year-old recorded 2,175 runs in ODI cricket, with nine half-centuries and a career-best score of 102 against Sri Lanka, while amassing a further 1 877 runs in T20 cricket, notching up 10 fifties. With the ball, the leg-spinner bagged 204 international scalps overall (138 in ODIs, 65 in T20Is and 1 in Tests), including recording-breaking figures of four for zero during the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017 against the West Indies in Leicester, England.
Amongst van Niekerk’s other notable records, the Tshwane-born star is one of only six female cricketers to claim more than 1000 runs, 50 wickets and 50 catches in the One-Day format, while also having the fourth-best bowling strike rate (5.0) recorded in the history of Women’s ODI cricket. Van Niekerk also led South Africa as one of the best and most-capped captains in the country’s history, walking out in 50 ODI encounters, winning 29 matches (61.22%), between 2016 and her last international appearance in September 2021.
In the shorter format, van Niekerk skippered the nation to 15 victories in 30 matches (50%).
“It is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from international cricket. 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.,” van Niekerk’s official statement read.
“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. I look back on my career fondly and have made incredible memories and want to thank Cricket South Africa and all other stakeholders for your support. 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.”
“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,” she added.
She has a special message for her wife Kapp.
“My wife, Marizanne, you stood by my side since day one. Thank you for putting up with me and all that came with it, but yet, here you are. You are at the pinnacle of your career and it is my time to support you, the way you have supported me. I love you,” she said.
CSA Director of Cricket Enoch Nkwe added: “I would like to take this opportunity to graciously thank Dané for all her years of service and contribution to not only the ground-breaking success of the Momentum Proteas over the last decade, but to the overall growth and popularity of women’s cricket in South Africa and around the world. Her world-class cricketing ability and exceptional leadership skills are irrefutable and will surely be missed by her teammates, coaches and all South African fans who have followed her journey over the last 14 years. We wish Dané all the very best ahead of the next chapter in her career,” he said.
van Niekerk is currently with WPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore but has not played a game for the team yet.
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