Why could Dane Van Niekerk’s absence hurt South Africa in World Cup 2022?

Ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup that starts from March 4 in New Zealand, there is some bad news for South African women’s cricket. The captain of South Africa, Dane van Niekerk has been ruled out of the marquee tournament due to an ankle injury.

 

Huge blow for South Africa as captain Dane van Niekerk to miss World Cup 2022
Huge blow for South Africa as captain Dane van Niekerk to miss World Cup 2022. PC: Getty Images

 

There is no doubt that the Proteas will not only miss van Niekerk the all-rounder but also van Niekerk the captain in the World Cup. After having come close in World T20 in 2020 that was played in Australia, during which South Africa reached the semi-finals, the team, as well as the fans, were hopeful of a similar or even a better show in the upcoming 50-over World Cup. The absence of van Niekerk will definitely dent the hopes of South African fans.

Since her international debut in 2009 at the age of 15 years and 10 odd months, the right-handed batter and right arm leg spinner has been an integral part of the Proteas line-up. Over her illustrious career that spans across 12+ years, she has featured in one Test, 107 ODIs, and 86 T20Is. She has muscled a total of 4094 international runs across formats and picked up 204 wickets. She is among the all-time top five run-getters for South Africa and the second-highest wicket-taker for the Proteas in ODI cricket. She is also one of the best all-rounders in the world of women’s cricket in the ODI format. Out of the many records that she has, the one that stands out the most is that she is the first and only one out of the two South Africans to account for a hat-trick in WODIs.

There is seldom any doubt that her numbers with both bat and ball speak volumes about her impact on the team. However, one cannot rule out the fact that she has been an incredible leader of the team. She took over the reins in 2016 and since then has taken South African cricket to an altogether different level. As a captain she has a success rate of 60 percent, winning 29 out of the 50 ODIs. With such a healthy success rate, appointing a new captain for the World Cup who could match up to her will be a challenge for Cricket South Africa.

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Apart from serving South African cricket for more than a decade, van Niekerk is a global name, thanks to her performances across global leagues like the Hundred in England last year and the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia since its first edition that started in 2015-16.

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