Dane van Niekerk has been left out of South Africa’s squad for February’s T20 Women’s World Cup after failing “to meet minimum fitness criteria”.
Cricket South Africa said the versatile Van Niekerk, 29, failed to meet the required time for a two-kilometre run.
Captain in all formats since 2016, Van Niekerk, who is recovering from a broken ankle, last played international cricket in September 2021.
Sune Luus will be the team captain in Van Niekerk’s absence.
Van Niekerk posted a message on social media to say she was “absolutely shattered”.
Van Niekerk was dropped from the squad for the recent tri-series against West Indies and India but has had another chance to prove her fitness ahead of the World Cup, which starts in South Africa on February 10 .
His wife and fellow all-around star Marizanne Kapp was named to the squad.
“Dane had a great opportunity to meet the minimum criteria for the fitness test,” coach Clinton du Preez said.
“A lot of other players have gone down this path, everyone knows the situation well and what is needed. In December we clearly defined where it needs to be.
“Dane will always be missed on the cricket pitch. We have reminded her of that. We also appreciate the efforts she has made to achieve fitness levels.”
Van Niekerk is the only South African cricketer to score over 1,500 runs and take over 50 wickets in the Women’s T20 internationals.
She missed South Africa’s multi-format series against England in the summer of 2022 through injury and her skills and leadership were sorely missed by an inexperienced side as they were beaten 14-2.
Van Niekerk’s omission comes after the South African striker Lizelle Lee has retired from international cricket midway through that series against England, saying a failed weight test was a “significant factor” in his decision to withdraw.
Lee told the BBC World Service Stumped Podcast that the experience was “emotionally exhausting”.
South Africa were semi-finalists at the previous T20 World Cup in 2020, where they were knocked out by eventual champions Australia.
South Africa women’s squad for the T20 World Cup: Sune Luus (captain), Chloe Tryon (vice-captain), Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Laura Wolvaardt, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Delmi Tucker , Annerie Dercksen. Non-roving reserves: Micaela Andrews, Tebogo Macheke, Tumi Sekhukhune.