South Africa women’s captain Dane van Niekerk and allrounder Chloe Tryon have been ruled out of the upcoming ODI and T20I series at home against Pakistan as they recover from back injuries. A third player, who cannot be named because of doctor-patient confidentiality, will also miss the series after testing positive for Covid-19.
The rest of the squad have all returned negative Covid-19 tests and have entered a bio-bubble in Durban. All six matches will be played at Kingsmead after it was initially announced that one ODI and two T20Is would take place in Pietermaritzburg. The change is likely to ensure that the teams are back in Durban before South Africa’s Covid-19 curfew at 9 pm and to avoid the teams needing to visit another venue.
“Both Dane and Chloe sustained lower back injuries in September and both are [at] different stages of rehabilitation. They are progressing well but will not be available for this series,” Tshegofatso Gaetsewe, South Africa’s team doctor, said. “They are doing well – just not eligible for this tour. Everything about their rehabilitation is on track.”
Marizanne Kapp, who suffered a health scare during the WBBL when she was taken to hospital with an elevated heart rate, has returned to full fitness and is part of the team’s camp. “She is in good condition and her health issues have been taken care of. Anything subsequent that she needs she will get but for now everything is ok. She is in good health and we don’t anticipate any problems,” Gaetsewe said.
Coach Hilton Moreeng described the absence of van Niekerk and Tryon as a “very big setback”, especially because of the scarcity of fixtures on the calendar, with the Pakistan series the only confirmed matches for South Africa in 2021 so far.
“One reason is that you don’t know how the year is going to pan out because of the virus,” Morang said. “When there is an opportunity to play cricket you want to have all your best players available because you don’t know when you’re going to have another opportunity. From another perspective, the players who are going to get opportunities can show what they can do, and that will make us stronger.”
The team management is yet to confirm a captaincy replacement with Suné Luus among the candidates to replace van Niekerk. Luus has led the side in ten ODIs and nine T20Is between 2017 and 2019, including in a series against Pakistan in which the ODI trophy was shared and South Africa won the T20Is 3-2.