Cape Town - Captain Dane van Niekerk says she was 'caught by surprise'
after being named the big women's winner at the Cricket South Africa (CSA)
awards function held in Pretoria at the weekend.
The all-rounder scooped the South African Cricketer of the
Year prize and was also recognised as SA Women's Players' Player of the Year at
the glittering ceremony that took place at the Maslow Times Square Hotel.
Van Niekerk's surprise reaction stemmed from the fact that
she has been out for nearly six months due to a stress fracture of the right
"It's obviously a bit of an emotional ride for me right
now," he said. "It was a pretty rough six months for me.
"You know I love the game, so being away from my team-mates
first of all, and being away from the game, was really tough.
"But that happens in any career and I'm just stoked."
Since the start of June last year, Van Niekerk has been in
phenomenal form whenever she pulled on the Green and Gold.
The 26-year-old scored a century and seven half centuries in
19 one-day and T20 internationals. At the same time, she also claimed 12
wickets, leaving her as the stand-out performers in the Proteas Women set-up.
"First of all, the recognition from my team-mates, that
means the most because it shows they appreciated the efforts that I put in
before I got injured and then obviously getting Player of the Year, I didn't
expect it," she added.
"There were a lot of players, who after my injury put up
their hand by playing really well. I really feel honoured."
The other main female award winners were Marizanne Kapp who
was named ODI Player of the Year, and Shabnim Ismail who claimed the T20
International Player of the Year award.
The two are experienced campaigners and have together formed
one of the most deadly opening bowling combinations in the women's game.
There was one other new name to push her name among the
stars, Tumi Sekhukhune, after she won International Women's Newcomer of the
The 20-year-old claimed 10 wickets in eight ODI matches with
her canny medium-fast style and also managed 11 wickets in her 14 T20s for the
"I was really overwhelmed after winning the award," she
reflected. "I think the only thing that got me here was hard work and
dedication to my job over the past year and I feel really privileged to be
given this award.
"I've been getting more exposure and experience by being in
the Proteas set-up, especially at a very young age. With more experience my
performances can get even better. It's great to be able to play for my country
and represent this proud Proteas badge."
Other Proteas women winners came at the CSA Amateur
Breakfast Awards where Nadine de Klerk was named CSA Girls U19 Player of the
Tournament. Sune Luus, who also captained the Proteas Women in 2019, was voted
CSA Women's Provincial Cricketer of the Year.