Dane van Niekerk to play regional cricket in England before Hundred

Dane van Niekerk confirms her retirement from international cricket
Dane van Niekerk will play regional cricket in England this summer. The former South Africa captain, who retired from international cricket earlier this month, has signed for Sunrisers on a two-and-a-half-month contract that will see her play in the Charlotte Edwards Cup and the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

Van Niekerk was re-signed by Oval Invincibles in the inaugural women’s draft for the Hundred on Thursday evening, and her deal with Sunrisers – the regional hub based around London and the East – means she will be in England for the majority of the summer.

She was controversially left out of South Africa’s squad for the recent T20 World Cup on home soil after failing to meet a two-kilometre time trial benchmark, having struggled with injuries over the previous three years, and confirmed her retirement from international cricket last week.

“I’m very excited to join up with my Sunrisers team-mates,” van Niekerk said. “I look forward to this new chapter and contributing to the overall success of the team. [I am] so grateful for the backing and can’t wait to get on the field to start playing.”

Sunrisers have been the weakest of the eight English regional teams since the domestic system was revamped ahead of the 2020 season. They have only won once in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, the domestic T20 competition, and have never won a game in the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

They have a new coach for this summer in Andy Tennant, the former Scotland international, while Northants’ assistant coach Chris Liddle has also been brought in over the winter to work with the squad’s seamers.

“This is an extremely exciting time for Sunrisers, and having the ability to bring in DanĂ© speaks volumes of the work that has been going on behind the scenes at this club,” Tennant said. “We all know exactly what DanĂ© is capable of, and the experience that she will bring to our group of players is invaluable.

“We made sure that the current squad were aware throughout the whole process, and Eva [Gray] and Mady [Villiers] have always spoken so highly of her after spending so much time together during the Hundred. She’s both a brilliant player and a brilliant person, and we can’t wait to welcome her into the Sunrisers family.”

Van Niekerk’s deal with Sunrisers runs until the end of July, when she will link up with the Invincibles squad ahead of their opening Hundred fixture on August 2.

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