TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
MIGNON du Preez has relinquished the captaincy of SA’s women’s team to focus on improving her own performances, a Cricket SA (CSA) statement said on Tuesday. She will be succeeded by Dane van Niekerk.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision and took a lot of introspection but ultimately I believe that this is the best step forward not only for myself but for the team,” the statement quoted Du Preez as saying.
“Stepping down from the captaincy role will give me an opportunity to work on my own game, which has taken a downturn in the last couple of seasons.
“I believe I can make a better contribution by putting runs on the board and offering support and advice to the next captain.”
Du Preez has captained SA since October 2011. Her team won 24 of her 46 one-day internationals in charge and 24 of 50 T20s. She also led SA in a rare test, against India in Mysore in November 2014, which they lost by an innings.
As ODI captain Du Preez averages 26.47. When she is not captain that goes up to 44.92. She scored her only century as skipper but made just two of her seven half-centuries while at the helm despite having had 25 more innings as captain. She has gone 18 innings without reaching 50 in an ODI.
Van Niekerk reeled off a hattrick of half-centuries in T20s against Pakistan and England last season and made 55 off 48 balls in her most recent ODI, against West Indies in East London in February.
A leg spinner, she has taken 81 wickets at an average of 17.23 in ODIs and 47 at 18.72 in T20s.
“This is the biggest honour of my career so far,” Van Niekerk said in the statement. “Captaining my country has been a dream since I began playing cricket and I am humbled that CSA have chosen me for the job.
“I would like to thank Mignon for paving the way and bringing the team this far. I look forward to filling her shoes as best I can and moving the team forward.”
Van Niekerk, 23, already has one game as captain to her credit. She led SA to victory by 56 runs in a T20 against Ireland in Solihull in England in September 2014.
She will take the reins in an ODI for the first time in SA’s home series against Bangladesh in September.