That means van Niekerk’s participation in the England tour that follows, which includes a one-off Test, three ODIs, three T20Is and the Commonwealth Games, is in doubt. The final squad for those matches will be announced in the first week of June, which gives van Niekerk little over a week to make the cut. She returned to training earlier this month and is currently still on an individual program, and not training with the rest of the group. The South African squad that travels to Ireland will remain in the UK, with any personnel changes for the England series and Commonwealth Games to travel in or out as needed.
For the Ireland matches, Sune Luus will lead a group that includes one new cap, batting allrounder Delmi Tucker, who has recently played for the South African Emerging side against Zimbabwe and Thailand. Tucker also had a successful domestic season for Western Province, where she scored 409 runs white ball cricket and took 15 wickets with her right-arm off-spin. “Delmi Tucker has been rewarded off the back of a very successful domestic season and has really made positive strides with significant contributions, and we are looking forward to seeing her transition into the international arena,” Clinton du Preez, South Africa’s selection convener, said.
The rest of the squad includes the familiar faces of Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Chloe Tryon and Ayabonga Khaka as well as all three reserves who traveled to the World Cup – Raisibe Ntozakhe, Nadine de Klerk and Andrie Steyn. Anneke Bosch, who missed the World Cup with a fractured thumb, also returns.
While the T20Is are part of South Africa’s preparation for the Commonwealth Games and next year’s T20 World Cup, the ODIs are part of the 2022 to 2025 Women’s Championship, which will determine qualification for the 2025 World Cup.
“When we are looking at the T20Is, there is a bigger picture when it comes to that. It is a new beginning for us this year, building up towards the T20 World Cup and the Commonwealth Games,” Hilton Moreeng, South Africa’s coach, said. “The senior players know what is at stake. The ODIs are the ICC Women’s Championship qualifications for the next 50-over World Cup, so there is a lot at stake in the sense that we are also looking to grow our base.”
Squad: Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Trisha Chetty, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Sune Luus (capt), Nonkululeko Mlaba, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Tumi Sekhukhune, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon, Delmi Tucker, Laura Wolvaardt