• ‘I want to find the Dané I’ve lost along the way’

    Dané van Niekerk says she hopes to enjoy cricket again in the Women’s Premier League.

    Van Niekerk was left devastated after being omitted from the Proteas squad for the recent Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa for fitness reasons (she failed a 2km run by 18 seconds).

    But being picked up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for the inaugural WPL during the World Cup provided some consolation for the 29-year-old. 

    “I just want to get back into it,” Van Niekerk told ESPNcricinfo ahead of RCB’s match against the Mumbai Indians on Monday.

    “I haven’t played competitive cricket for such a long time [due to injury], I just want to find the Dané that I’ve lost along the way with all the ups and the downs. And there were a lot more downs than ups, so it’s about finding that Dané, finding that edge again, the fearlessness.

    “When you go through these tiring times, you don’t like the game as much. As a cricketer, everyone says if you don’t enjoy it it’s probably time to call it [off]. I’m not there yet. But I want to find that love and that fun factor again, find the Dane that I missed, to be honest.”

    Van Niekerk wasn’t selected for RCB’s opening match of the tournament, a 60-run defeat to the Delhi Capitals, and says she isn’t putting pressure on herself to perform when an opportunity to play does come.

    “I’m not here to show everyone or anyone that I should have played the World Cup or I should have done this – the should have, would have, could have.

    “At the end of the day, I want to find myself, and enjoy cricket again.”

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    Simon Borchardt