Cricket fans in uproar over 'crazy' call on Dane van Niekerk for World Cup
South Africa's staggering decision on the former captain has sparked widespread anger.
Cricket fans and commentators have expressed their disbelief over South Africa's shock call to leave captain Dane van Niekerk out of their squad for the T20 World Cup. The Proteas made the bombshell announcement on Tuesday night that van Niekerk hadn't met the team's fitness requirements to play at their home World Cup.
Van Niekerk has captained the South African women's side since 2016, but was left out of the squad because she failed to complete a 2km run in less than nine minutes and 30 seconds. She reportedly recoded a personal best time of 9.48, but came in 18 seconds over the maximum time allowed.
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Sune Luus has been named as skipper as a result. The World Cup will take place in Paarl, Gqeberha and Cape Town in February.
Van Niekerk, who also plays for the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL, hasn't played international cricket since September 2021. The 29-year-old missed last year's ODI World Cup and Commonwealth Games due to a broken ankle, and wasn't selected for the current tri-series South Africa is playing against the West Indies and India.
“Dane was given an extensive opportunity to meet the minimum criteria for the fitness benchmark,” selector Clinton du Preez said on Tuesday. “Many other players have gone down this route, everyone is quite familiar with the situation and what is required. In December, we set it out clearly with where she needs to be.
“Dane will always be missed on the cricket field. We have reminded her of that. We also appreciate the effort she tried to put into meeting the fitness level.”
The brutal move isn't unprecedented, Male player Sisanda Magala previously missing out on competing for Central Gauteng Lions in the domestic T20 Challenge after he fell short of Cricket South Africa's benchmark men's in the 2km run.
Cricket world left raging over Dane van Niekerk call
Van Niekerk posted on social media that she was “absolutely broken” by the decision. She has 194 career appearances for her country and is the only female South African player in history with more than 1500 runs and 50 wickets in T20Is.
Retired South Africa great Dale Steyn was among the many to slam the decision on Tuesday. He mockingly tweeted: "Oh f***, I missed my 2km time by seconds, must mean I’m s***."
Van Niekerk's wife Marizanne Kapp said she was "one of the best captains in world cricket". Kapp wrote in Afrikaans: "You will be missed! The Lord has bigger plans."
Aussie cricket journalist Brydon Coverdale tweeted: "On the one hand, it seems crazy that South Africa would leave out their captain and arguably best player, Dane van Niekerk, from a home World Cup because she ran 18 seconds slower than some arbitrary mark in a 2km run. But on the other hand there is no other hand."
Dane van Niekerk not being in South Africa's T20 World Cup squad due to not meeting fitness requirements is one of those decisions that I don't think I'll ever understand. #T20WorldCup
— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) January 31, 2023
I guess it was foreshadowed but I'm gobsmacked that Dane van Niekerk isn't in SA's WC squad. Surely fitness targets aren't black & white? Is she one of the best 15 cricketers in the country? Without a doubt, imo. Not to mention her experience and cricket brain.
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) January 31, 2023
One of the best captains in world cricket ❤️ Jy gaan gemis word! Die Here het groter planne! 💔 https://t.co/dEbl2Z8Ikp
— Marizanne Kapp (@kappie777) January 31, 2023
Wait, let me get this straight. THIS was her best in the 2km run?
So Dane van Niekerk was good enough to play 194 matches and lead the country without EVER running faster and NOW you have a problem? Also says she lost 10kgs & met other standards needed.
Make it make sense, CSA. https://t.co/lr7GmW79mW
— Rohit Sankar (@imRohit_SN) January 31, 2023
This is getting ridiculous. Captain Dane van Niekerk not selected for SA’s T20 World Cup cos she ran a PB 9min 48sec for 2km and failed CSA’s “fitness test” that says she had to go 9:30. This is T20 cricket, not timeless Tests. What an insult to one of the game’s best players
— Gary Lemke (@GaryLemke) January 31, 2023
On the one hand, it seems crazy that South Africa would leave out their captain and arguably best player, Dane van Niekerk, from a home World Cup because she ran 18 seconds slower than some arbitrary mark in a 2km run, but on the other hand there is no other hand.
— Brydon Coverdale (@brydoncoverdale) February 1, 2023
Dane van Niekerk: South Africa all-rounder out of Women's T20 World Cup squad over fitness issues
Pathetic decision. Since when do you need to run continuously in cricket for 2k under 9 mins?!?! https://t.co/sZJHdVLQEw
— Cassandra Mill (@CassMill2) January 31, 2023
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