Proteas suffer Van Niekerk blow, Luus named skipper for T20 World Cup

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South African all-rounder Sune Luus
South African all-rounder Sune Luus
George Tewkesbury/Sportsfile via Getty Images

All-rounder and regular skipper Dane van Niekerk was deemed unfit as Cricket South Africa (CSA) named the Proteas women squad for next week's T20 Women's World Cup in South Africa.

CSA confirmed their 15-player squad for next month's T20 Women's World Cup, which will be held for the first time on African soil, from 10-26 February 2023. 

The Proteas women will be captained by all-rounder Sune Luus, with Van Niekerk ruled out of the global showpiece due to not meeting the minimum criteria. 

The Proteas are currently in the final of the ongoing Women's T20I tri-series between India and West Indies in East London.

According to Proteas women's national selector Clinton du Preez, Van Niekerk did not meet Cricket SA's extensive criteria, particularly the 2km run.

"The management assisted her into trying to get there but she did not meet the minimum requirement. The skill set of Dane as a cricketer will always be missed on the cricket field," Du Preez told reporters on Tuesday.

"We have reminded her of that. We also appreciate the effort she tried to put into meeting the fitness level." 

Also missing out of selection is wicketkeeper-batter Trisha Chetty.

Proteas squad for T20 Women's World Cup: 

Suné Luus (Titans - Captain), Chloé Tryon (Dolphins - Vice-Captain), Anneke Bosch (North West Dragons), Tazmin Brits (Garden Route Badgers), Nadine de Klerk (Western Province), Annerie Dercksen (Garden Route Badgers), Lara Goodall (Western Province), Shabnim Ismail (Dolphins), Sinalo Jafta (Western Province), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Ayabonga Khaka (Lions), Masabata Klaas (North West Dragons), Nonkululeko Mlaba (Dolphins), Delmi Tucker (Western Province), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province)

Non-traveling Reserves:

Micaéla Andrews (Garden Route Badgers), Tebogo Macheke (Titans), Tumi Sekhukhune (Lions)

The Proteas Women are in Group A and will kick off their tournament in the opening game against Sri Lanka on Friday, 10 February at Newlands.

South Africa will then complete their Group A fixtures with ties against New Zealand (13 February), the defending champions Australia (18 February) and Bangladesh (21 February).

Group B is made up of England, India, and Pakistan, as well as the West Indies and Ireland.

"The Proteas have the potential to make history when they take to the field at the T20 World Cup at home. CSA and cricket-loving South Africans have no doubt this squad will go on to make the country proud," said CSA Chief Executive, Pholetsi Moseki.

"Captain Suné Luus and head coach Hilton Moreeng along with the talented squad and support staff will have all the armoury required to conquer the world with the support of the entire nation, including the passionate and patriotic fans in the host cities of Cape Town, Paarl and Gqeberha.

"On behalf of CSA, I wish the team the very best throughout the tournament and may they rest assured that the whole of South Africa is standing tall beside them."

The top two teams in the group will advance to the semi-finals before the champions are crowned in a grand finale on Sunday, 26 February under the picturesque views of Table Mountain at Newlands.

Tickets are sale now on TicketPro from R30 with all 23 matches hosted in Cape Town, Paarl and Gqeberha.

CSA Director of Cricket of Cricket Enoch Nkwe says that the nation will be backing the Proteas women as they look to impress on home soil.

"A huge congratulations to the players and management selected to represent South Africa at the upcoming ICC Women's T20 World Cup. Everyone across the cricketing fraternity and the nation are backing the team all the way as they take on the rest of the world," said Nkwe.

"The Proteas Women have developed into a powerhouse in world cricket over the last decade, with the team making multiple semi-finals along the way. This group of players have been gifted with the once-in-a-career opportunity of playing in a World Cup on home soil and we believe this crop of players have the ability to rise to the occasion and give it their all."

South Africa's Fixtures - ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023

Friday, 10 February – 19:00 Group A Match 1 – South Africa vs Sri Lanka (Newlands, Cape Town)

Monday, 13 February – 19:00 Group A Match 2 – South Africa vs New Zealand (Boland Park, Paarl)

Saturday, 18 February – 19:00 Group A – Match 3 – South Africa vs Australia (St George's Park, Gqeberha)

Tuesday, 21 February – 19:00 Group A Match 4 – South Africa vs Bangladesh (Newlands, Cape Town)

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