Former Proteas Women’s captain Dané van Niekerk has retired from all forms of international cricket after a career that spanned more than 14 years.
The 29-year-old’s decision comes after she was left out of the Proteas squad for the recent Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa because she failed a 2km time trial by 18 seconds.
Van Niekerk enjoyed an illustrious international career for South Africa, representing her country on 194 occasions, including 107 ODIs, 86 T20Is and a single Test match against India in 2014.
Beginning her career in March 2009, she recorded 2,175 runs in ODI cricket, with nine half-centuries and a career-best score of 102 against Sri Lanka, while amassing a further 1,877 runs in T20I cricket, with 10 fifties.
With the ball, the leg-spinner bagged 204 international scalps overall (138 in ODIs, 65 in T20Is and one in Tests), including recording-breaking figures of 4-0 during the 2017 Women’s World Cup against the West Indies in Leicester.
Amongst Van Niekerk’s other notable records, she is one of only six female cricketers to claim more than 1,000 runs, 50 wickets and 50 catches in the one-day format, while also having the fourth-best bowling strike rate (5.0) recorded in the history of women’s ODI cricket.
Van Niekerk also led South Africa as one of the best and most-capped captains in the country’s history, walking out 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%).
“It is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from international cricket,” said Van Niekerk in a statement.
“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 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 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.
“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. 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 exceed. I will forever be grateful.
“My wife, Marizanne, 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.”