South Africa women's skipper Dane van Niekerk has been ruled out of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup with a foot fracture.
Van Niekerk sustained a left ankle fracture in the last week at home in Gqberha, and will miss three months of cricket, including the World Cup which begins in March.
Proteas Team Doctor Tshegofatso Gaetsewe says the fracture isn't as bad as first feared, though the all-rounder faces a lengthy road back to full fitness.
“The injury is a result of an accidental slip on a wet surface at home.
“As things stand, she doesn’t require surgery but will be monitored closely. It’s a stable fracture with minimal displacement and her recovery timeline is no less than 12 weeks,” Gaetsewe added.
Meanwhile, the Proteas have announced a 21-player training squad ahead of the tournament, also hosting the West Indies in four one-day internationals from January 28.
A captain for the side is yet to be named in van Niekerk's absence, though Sune Luus is tipped to take over.
Convenor of Selectors Clinton du Preez says the loss of van Niekerk will hurt the side, though it brings opportunities for a young and exciting group of players.
“Losing Dané is massive for the team and the country, we will sorely miss her leadership and all-round cricket abilities. I would like to wish her all the best with her recovery and a smooth and seamless return to the national team," du Preez added.
“This is a great opportunity for the coaches to work with this strong group of players and strategically set out the plan for the upcoming series and then moving into the World Cup.
South Africa training squad: Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Trisha Chetty, Nadine de Klerk, Mignon du Preez, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Tumi Sekhukhune, Nondumiso Shangase, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon, Delmari Tucker, Laura Wolvaardt.
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