Cricket-S Africa axe captain van Niekerk from Women's T20 World Cup squad

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - The Hundred Final - Women - Southern Brave v Oval Invincibles - Lord's Cricket Ground, London, Britain - August 21, 2021 Oval Invincibles' Dane van Niekerk in action Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Hosts South Africa have dropped regular captain Dane van Niekerk from their Women's Twenty20 World Cup squad after the all-rounder failed to meet fitness requirements.

Sune Luus will skipper the squad in the absence of van Niekerk, who also missed the 2022 50-overs World Cup after suffering a broken ankle in January last year.

"Dane was given an extensive opportunity to meet the minimum criteria, or the fitness benchmark for eligibility into the World Cup," women's selection convener Clinton du Preez told reporters on Tuesday.

"She recently did another fitness test and unfortunately did not meet the minimum criteria, and therefore she's missed out."

The team fitness standards require a player to run 2 km in nine minutes and 30 seconds, a mark which the 29-year-old could not achieve, according to

Fellow all-rounder Luus is leading South Africa in the ongoing home tri-series involving India and West Indies but van Niekerk was widely expected to return for the T20 World Cup.

South Africa begin their campaign against Sri Lanka in Cape Town on Feb. 10. New Zealand, Bangladesh and reigning champions Australia are the other teams in Group A.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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