NICK FRIEND – EXCLUSIVE : The former Proteas women's captain is set to follow in the footsteps of Deandra Dottin, another recent international retiree, who turned out for Thunder in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in 2022
Dane van Niekerk looks set for a stint in English cricket's regional structure in 2023, with Sunrisers the favourites to sign the former South Africa captain, The Cricketer understands.
Van Niekerk officially announced her international retirement on Thursday (March 16), having last played for her country in September 2021 due to a mixture of injury issues and a controversial decision to omit her from the T20 World Cup squad on account of a two-kilometre time trial.
She is yet to feature in the Women's Premier League but was signed up at the auction by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
A move to join Sunrisers would be intriguing for several reasons, not least as a major coup for a regional team that has so far struggled for results.
Sunrisers will be hoping for a change of fortunes in 2023 (Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
They will be under a new head coach for 2023 in Andy Tennant, having won just one match in total – in the Charlotte Edwards Cup – since the regional system came into being in 2020.
More widely, her arrival would speak to the attraction of the increasingly professionalised women's domestic game and the view that it represents a viable opportunity for some of the world's top players, during a period of the year when currently there is no major franchise tournament.
Van Niekerk would be following in the footsteps of Deandra Dottin, another recent international retiree, who turned out for Thunder in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in 2022.