Mignon du Preez has stepped down as Proteas women’s captain in all formats, and has been replaced by Dane van Niekerk.
Du Preez cited a desire to work on her game as the main motivation for stepping down. The announcement comes a month ahead of the team’s tour to Ireland in July.
Du Preez led the Proteas in 46 One-Day Internationals (ODIs), 50 T20s and one Test match in her four years at the helm. Her greatest achievement was to lead the side to its first ever ICC Women’s World T20 semi-final in 2014 and she was also the first women’s captain to beat India and Bangladesh in ODI series’ away from home.
‘This was an incredibly difficult decision and took a lot of introspection, but ultimately I believe that this is the best step forward not only for myself, but for the team,’ Du Preez said. ‘Stepping down from the captaincy role will give me an opportunity to work on my own game, which has taken a downturn in the last couple of seasons. I believe I can make a better contribution by putting runs on the board and offering support and advice to the next captain.
Twenty-three-year-old Van Niekerk said she was both humbled and excited by the appointment.
‘This is the biggest honour of my career so far,’ she said. ‘Captaining my country has been a dream since I began playing cricket and I am humbled that CSA have chosen me for the job. I would like to thank Mignon for paving the way and bringing the team this far. I look forward to filling her shoes as best I can and moving the team forward.’
CSA also announced the 14 players who have been awarded National Contracts for the 2016-2017 season:
Dane van Niekerk, Trisha Chetty, Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail, Dinesha Devnarain, Matshipi Letsoalo, Moseline Daniels, Chloe Tryon, Sune Luus, Lizelle Lee, Masabata Klaas, Ayabonga Khakha, Andrie Steyn.
Coach Hilton Moreeng said:
‘The initiative by Cricket South Africa to contract the team is another excellent opportunity to allow them to focus on cricket in this demanding professional era. The ladies are able work on their skills to keep improving in order to compete against the best in world. The consistency shown by CSA in contracting the same squad for another year has been very encouraging and can only bode well for the upcoming season.’
Picture: Getty/Clive Mason