Suzie Bates pulls out; Dane van Niekerk to play for Adelaide Strikers in WBBL07

Suzie Bates pulls out; Dane van Niekerk to play for Adelaide Strikers in WBBL07

Dane van Niekerk will replace Suzie Bates for Adelaide Strikers in WBBL07 © Getty Images

Dane van Niekerk has been signed up by Adelaide Strikers to play in the seventh season of the Women’s Big Bash League, the club announced on Thursday (September 30) after New Zealand international Suzie Bates pulled out of WBBL07 due to difficulties surrounding international travel. Van Niekerk will join her South African team-mate Laura Wolvaardt in Strikers.

Strikers captain Bates was part of the New Zealand squad that recently concluded their eight-match tour of England. The New Zealand government's new cautious restrictions due to COVID-19 meant that Bates would not prefer to risk the travelling uncertainties as the national team has a huge summer ahead, including the World Cup.

“Unfortunately, this season I had to make the tough decision to withdraw from the WBBL because of the current travel restrictions between Australia and New Zealand and the difficulty for New Zealanders overseas to travel back to New Zealand freely because of the limited availability and uncertainty around guaranteeing quarantine spots," Bates said.

“At the time I had to make the decision, I had a spot booked by New Zealand Cricket to get me back into NZ and if I gave this up to fly straight to Australia there was a high chance of being stranded post the Big Bash. This was not a risk I was willing to take given what the White Ferns have coming up this summer, including a home World Cup," Bates added.

In her absence, South Africa captain, van Niekerk, who has played 194 internationals and has previously played for Melbourne Renegades in the first-ever season of the WBBL will join forces with Australian marquee player Tahlia McGrath and Darcie Brown. She has plenty of experience in the WBBL and has been an integral part of the Sydney Sixers squad that won back-to-back WBBL championships. “I’m so excited to be joining the Strikers this year and very excited to join the team. I hope to make the fans proud,” van Niekerk said.

The 28-year-old has scored 961 runs across six seasons of WBBL and also has 74 wickets to her name. She was the highest run-scorer of the recently concluded The Hundred, leading the Oval Invincibles to the title. With her signing, Strikers are one spot away from confirming their entire squad for the seventh season of WBBL. Their Australian marquee player, Megan Schutt, is yet to be confirmed.

“We are excited to welcome Dane into the group, she is someone that brings a huge amount of experience and talent that will be a massive benefit to our WBBL07 campaign,” said Luke Williams, head coach of Adelaide Strikers.

"It is no coincidence that Dane has played in winning teams, she leads by example and always performs on the biggest stages. Dane comes to Australia in the incredible form off the back of The Hundred and South Africa’s tour of the West Indies and we can’t wait to see her take the field as a Striker,” he added.

Apart from van Niekerk and Wolvaardt, Marizanne Kapp, Mignon du Preez, Nadine de Klerk, and Anneke Bosch are the other South Africans so far in WBBL07. Fast bowler Shabnim Ismail had signed with defending champions Sydney Thunder but had withdrawn due to injury.

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