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Dane van Niekerk has been left out of South Africa's 17-member squad, led by legspinning allrounder Sune Luus, for the women's T20I tri-series featuring India and West Indies. Experienced wicketkeeper-batter Trisha Chetty is also absent from the squad that has two uncapped players in Annerie Dercksen and Tebogo Macheke.
Van Niekerk, who last played for South Africa in September 2021, was not considered after failing to meet fitness requirements as she makes her comeback from a broken ankle. She suffered the injury in January last year and has intermittently played in the Women's BBL, the Hundred, the Women's Super League, and for the South African Emerging Women's side but has not met the standards to qualify for national selection. She has two weeks to change that, with South Africa due to announce their Women's T20 World Cup squad on January 31. Chetty is sidelined with a long-standing back injury.
"Dané has progressed very well and it's a step in the right direction," Clinton du Preez, Convenor of Selectors, said. "Unfortunately, she did not meet the minimum national standards and therefore is ineligible for selection and we will continue working on her fitness as we continue through the tri-series, to assess her eligibility for the [T20] World Cup."
Mignon du Preez, who announced her retirement late last year, and Chetty are the only two missing from the team that played the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022, with top order batter Tazmin Brits and offspinning allrounder Delmi Tucker - who made her T20I debut against England in July last year - coming in apart from the two uncapped players.
Dercksen, who bats in the top order and bowls right-arm seam, impressed in the CSA Women's Provincial T20 competition with her fast starts. She also picked up wickets while being economical. Macheke is the back-up wicketkeeper in the squad behind Sinalo Jafta.
"The uncapped players included have been part of the recent camps and have grown immensely," Clinton du Preez said. "Annerie as an allrounder, she will bring much depth to the squad and versatility within the team. Tebogo has been working hard and will add an additional option as a wicketkeeper and it's great for them to be a part of it.
"They've shown a lot of improvement and I am looking forward to their involvement and how we can maximise the opportunity of them being in the squad. It's a great occasion for them to come up against two strongholds in India and the West Indies, which will really test the resilience of the two players.
South Africa open the tri-series with a match against India on January 19. While they haven't played an international since August last year, van Niekerk, allrounder Marizanne Kapp and fast bowler Shabnim Ismail were part of the Oval Invincibles side that won their second successive Women's Hundred title in September. Ismail, Kapp, batter Laura Wolvaardt and allrounders Nadine de Klerk and Chloe Tryon played in the Women's Big Bash League. Luus and seamer Ayabonga Khaka were in action at the inaugural Women's Caribbean Premier League.
Squad: Suné Luus (capt), Chloé Tryon (vice-capt), Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Annerie Dercksen, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Tebogo Macheke, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Delmi Tucker, Laura Wolvaardt