Home Sport Cricket Dané van Niekerk announces her return in a big way

Dané van Niekerk announces her return in a big way

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The Proteas captain showed that she has lost of none of her class with an unbeaten 50 off 47 balls (9×4) to go with figures of 2/13 against the South Africa Under-19 team at Newlands.

Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk is happy to back on the field after recovering from injury
Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk is happy to back on the field after recovering from injury. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

Cape Town — Prior to the start of the Cricket SA Women’s Super League the spotlight was always going to focus on Dane van Niekerk.

The Momentum Proteas Women’s captain had only played a single match — for the South Africa Emerging XI against Zimbabwe back in August — in South Africa since February 2019.

It was fateful day with Van Niekerk striking her maiden ODI century only to suffer a stress fracture in her femur the very next day.

Its been horrendous period since for Van Niekerk with the leg injury initially ruling her out for a lengthy period of time before suffering another back injury. She returned for a brief period to lead the team in the West Indies in 2021 before suffering a freak accident on her pool deck that saw her rupture ligaments in her ankle.

That was major blow to both Van Niekerk and the Proteas as she was ruled out of both the ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this past year.

The road to recovery has been an arduous one with Van Niekerk not only battling the physical strain of trying to regain her fitness, but also having to be mentally strong to recover from three major injuries in such a short space of time.

A self-confessed Proteas Women’s team fanatic, it was also heartbreaking for her to be on the sidelines and not be able to help her teammates in such major events other than offer moral support.

But Van Niekerk is finally back and arguably fitter than she has been for a very long time and is well on the road to recovery in her bid to regain her place in the Proteas squad for the T20 World Cup next year on home soil.

And on Monday she finally managed to get in some much-needed game time for the Starlights in the WSL and showed that she has lost of none of her class with an unbeaten 50 off 47 balls (9×4) to go with figures of 2/13 against the South Africa Under-19 team at Newlands.

“It was really hot today, so I’m not going to lie I am struggling a bit. But its really good to be back, spending time in the middle, and taking it through and playing the scenario that I have always done for my country and something I want to do again as we build towards the World Cup,” Van Niekerk told the media afterwards.

Equally, Van Niekerk showed that she has lost none of her insatiable passion for South African cricket as she called the Under-19s into a huddle after the game and shared some of her experience with the youngsters ahead of their own ICC Under-19 World Cup in Potchefstroom early next year.

“I think there was a lot of nerves around. They were playing against people that they would have looked up to. I would have been shaking in my boots if that was me playing against people that I have only been watching before.

“I had a word with them in the middle afterwards and told them they must just enjoy it and that they can rather get bowled out for 70 in seven overs going for it than bat out 20 overs for 80/8 like they did. But a lot of learnings for them and myself.”

@ZaahierAdams

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