South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk joins Adelaide Strikers for WBBL

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Adelaide, Sep 30 (IANS) South African captain Dane van Niekerk has joined Adelaide Strikers for the upcoming seventh season of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). She will join her countrymate Laura Wolvaardt as the second overseas signing of the team.

“I’m so excited to be joining the Strikers this year and very excited to join the team. I hope to make the fans proud!” said the 28-year-old Dane in a release by the club on Thursday.

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Dane had recently won the Player of the Tournament award after her team Oval Invincibles won the inaugural edition of The Hundred in England. Her association with Adelaide will be her third outing in the WBBL after representing Melbourne Renegades (2015-16) and Sydney Sixers (2016-20). Dane was a part of the Sixers team winning back-to-back WBBL titles in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Luke Williams, the head coach of Adelaide Strikers, is upbeat about Dane’s inclusion into the team. “We are excited to welcome Dane into the group, she is someone that brings a huge amount of experience and talent that will be a massive benefit to our WBBL|07 campaign. It is no coincidence that Dane has played in and captained winning teams, she leads by example and always performs on the biggest stages. DanĂ© comes to Australia in incredible form off the back of The Hundred and South Africa’s tour of the West Indies and we can’t wait to see her take the field as a Striker.”

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Dane’s entry into the Strikers happens after New Zealand opener Suzie Bates said that she will not be a part of the tournament due to border restrictions. Suzie is currently in hotel quarantine in New Zealand after returning from the white-ball tour of England.

“Unfortunately, this season I had to make the tough decision to withdraw from the WBBL because of the current travel restrictions between Australia and New Zealand and the difficulty for New Zealanders overseas to travel back to New Zealand freely because of the limited availability and uncertainty around guaranteeing quarantine spots.”

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“At the time I had to make the decision I had a spot booked by New Zealand Cricket to get me back into NZ and if I gave this up to fly straight to Australia there was high chance of being stranded in Australia post the Big Bash. This was not a risk I was willing to take with what the White Ferns have coming up this summer, including a home world cup.”

“I love this club; I love playing for the Strikers so it was not an easy decision, but I look forward to following and supporting the team as best I can.”

The seventh season of WBBL is scheduled to start from October 14 and end on November 27 with first 20 matches to be played in Tasmania.

–IANS

nr/bsk

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