29 and out: Former Proteas Women skipper Dané van Niekerk announces her international retirement

29 and out: Former Proteas Women skipper Dané van Niekerk announces her international retirement
Dané van Niekerk. (Photo: Grant Pitcher / Gallo Images)

Dané van Niekerk has called it quits on her international career with the Proteas Women, but the talented all-rounder will continue to play franchise cricket around the world.

Proteas Women’s all-rounder and former captain, Dané van Niekerk, has confirmed her retirement from all forms of international cricket after a career spanning more than 14 years in the national team.

Van Niekerk joins Proteas Women stalwarts Lizelle Lee and Mignon du Preez, who retired from the national team within the last year.

The 29-year-old enjoyed an illustrious international career for South Africa, representing her country on 194 occasions, including 107 One-Day Internationals (ODI), 86 T20 Internationals (T20Is) and a single Test match against India in 2014.

Van Niekerk has struggled to stay on the playing field due to injuries and fitness over the past year. The last time she represented the national team was on 19 September 2021 against West Indies.

She suffered a freak injury in January 2022 when she fractured an ankle after slipping on a wet floor at home, which ruled her out of the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand that year.

Suné Luus took over the captaincy of the Proteas Women on an interim basis after the injury.

Van Niekerk battled to regain fitness and subsequently missed out on selection for last month’s T20 World Cup hosted in South Africa.

Luus was officially made skipper – having led the team for a year on a provisional basis – prior to the start of the home tournament.

The Proteas reached the final of the 20-over World Cup but finished as runners-up after losing by 19 runs to Australia at Newlands on 26 February.

Van Niekerk will continue to play in franchise leagues around the world. 

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The former skipper is currently in India where she is representing the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Women’s Premier League.

“It is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from international cricket,” Van Niekerk said in a statement released by Cricket South Africa (CSA).

“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.

“There is no doubt that the women’s game is in an exciting space and I’m 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 I would not change it for anything. I’m grateful for what this game has given me.

“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.”

Dané van Niekerk of the Strikers walks off after being caught behind during the Women’s Big Bash League match between the Perth Scorchers and the Adelaide Strikers at Optus Stadium, on 27 November 2021, in Perth, Australia. (Photo: Stefan Gosatti / Getty Images)

Bright start

Van Niekerk started her international career in March 2009. The former captain recorded 2,175 runs in ODI cricket, with nine half-centuries and a career-best score of 102 against Sri Lanka. She logged a further 1,877 runs in T20 cricket, while notching up 10 fifties.

With the ball, the leg-spinner bagged 204 international scalps overall (138 in ODIs, 65 in T20Is and one in Tests), including record-breaking figures of four for zero during the 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 1,000 runs, 50 wickets and 50 catches in the one-day format 

Van Niekerk also led South Africa as one of the most successful and most-capped captains in the country’s history. She walked out as leader 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%).

“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,” her statement read.

“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.

“To my amazing family. Thank you for your incredible love and support. From the age of four, you have seen the potential and did everything and anything to help me succeed. I will forever be grateful.

“My wife, Marizanne [Kapp], 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.”

CSA Director of Cricket Enoch Nkwe said: “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 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.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Robert Gornal says:

    We wishher well in her retirement.

  • MD L says:

    Real class, personally and professionally.

  • Ian Gray says:

    This is crazy! Dané is not yet 30 and she retires, presumably for the same reason as Lizelle – that she would not get a fitness pass, preventing her from playing franchise cricket. It should be the selectors that are retiring from international cricket!! Everyone is congratulating themselves over the Proteas performance in the T20 World Cup (and well done to those who played) but the cup should have been won – if the right team had been selected. The brain-dead decision to leave out Dané was ludicrous (apparently the logic was that the player needed to be fit enough to “run the hard 2 runs in the final overs”. That hardly matters if the player is not good enough to still be batting!! With the greatest respect to Annake and Delmi, they scored a TOTAL of 13 runs between them in 4 innings and Delmi took no wickets in the 3 overs she bowled!!!
    Let’s not forget that Dané received the highest possible honour being selected as one of the 5 Wisden Cricketers Of The Year (which covers both men’s and women’s cricket) just last year!!
    With Lizelle, Dané and Mignon in the team, the Aussies would have started as underdogs!!!
    We can only wish Dané all the very best and hope that we see her skills on display in franchise cricket.

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