SA all-rounder eager for Renegades chance

Australia

South Africa all-rounder Dane van Niekerk says she 'freaked out' when she heard she'd be part of the Melbourne Renegades team for the first Women's Big Bash League, having not expected the call.

Van Niekerk (her first name is pronounced duh-nay, not like the dog) is one of two Proteas players picked, though the other cannot be revealed yet, and she hopes to do well enough to be asked back every year.

The opening batsman and spinner told Cricket365 of the odd selection process: "There was an application process but I was lucky that the list manager of the Melbourne Renegades contacted me through Linkedin. That's how he found me!

"Obviously we saw the articles and press releases and thought 'Jeez, this would be great to be a part of'. I didn't think I'd be one of the players picked, so when the guy contacted me I freaked out. It's a big thing, a big opportunity to play against the best in the world."

Van Niekerk's most recent series saw her play T20s against Pakistan, and do rather well, with the final match seeing her take 3/12 with the ball and score 67 with the bat. She reckons that was a big factor in being selected.

She added: "I haven't really performed against Australia, so they haven't really seen what I can do or what I'm capable of. I think the stats from the past 12 months maybe convinced the Renegades to get me."

Her main ambitions when she jets to Oz in late November are to impress and be retained, but also show how her hard work in the nets, with the ball in particular, have paid off.

She added of her goals: "I want to do well, and hopefully if I do well at the Renegades then it'll become a regular thing. If it becomes a regular thing then you can only grow as a cricketer.

"So the big thing for me is to perform for the Renegades and get us into winning positions, and make myself a part of the Renegade family.

"I honestly think, not to sound vain or anything, that I've been working really hard on my bowling. It'll be fun to see which one, batting or bowling, will be better because I've been working hard on my variations with the ball.

"I'm rooting for my bowling this time around, but the batting's been looking good!"

Cricket365 can confirm that the other SA player is not, in fact, skipper Mignon du Preez, who told us via email that she had not been picked this time around.

Van Niekerk said of the omission: "She's a quality player and there are a few players in the team who you'd think would get a call, but there are very limited spots so I just count myself lucky to be one of them."

Lindsay du Plessis

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