Proteas Women’s captain Dane van Niekerk is celebrating her 27th birthday. To celebrate the day of her birth we chatted to her to get to know a little bit more about her and what she has been doing in her free time during lockdown.
Q. What do you love most about cricket?
I love everything about cricket. I love how incredibly tough it is to play the game and to try and master it. As a cricketer you spend your whole life trying to be the best in the world and trying to be the best at what you do. It’s always as if you can never quite get there, so you always strive to be better in every game and every season. Everything about cricket just intrigues me and gets me excited.
Q. What is your greatest highlight of your cricket career so far?
There are three highlights so far. The first was captaining my country in a semi-final of an ODI Women’s World Cup. The second highlight is captaining my country in a semi-final of a T20 Women’s World Cup. Those were both a huge honour for me. Then my maiden century for my country is the third highlight. It took 10 years to get it, so it was pretty special.
Q. What is your favourite experience whilst being on tour with the Proteas Women?
Seeing the world and experiencing some incredible moments with my teammates is probably the most special experience. Being with the team we’ve seen a lot of things and we’ve been to a lot of countries together. We always find something on every tour to do that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Q. Dane, tell us something about yourself that the public does not know.
That’s a good one, haha. I don’t know. What don’t they know? I’m an open book, I say things how they are, so I don’t know if there’s something that people don’t know. I might come across as a very fiery and feisty person, but I’m actually quite soft and I’ve got a really soft heart. I don’t know if people know that. It they didn’t, now they do.
Q. Tell us about the team spirit and the vibe in the Protea’s Women’s team after doing so well at the Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup?
The vibe was incredible. There was a massive hype. It’s just sad that we could not continue with that unfortunately with the COVID-19 pandemic that’s been sprang onto everyone quite quickly. Everybody was excited about where they were with their cricket and everybody was doing really well and improving their game and their skill levels. I’m really sad that we couldn’t continue. Facing Australia in South Africa would’ve been pretty special after the world cup and just continue with the hype and the vibe around women’s cricket in general.
Q. Dane, who is your favourite cricket player at the moment and why? Man or Women.
My favourite cricketers have always been AB de Viliers and Virat Kohli. I just think the way they play the game and just how incredibly talented they are is just incredibly exciting to see. Those are two of the cricketers that I have followed since I was much younger.
Q. How are you spending your free time during the COVID-19 lockdown?
We have been training. We’ve been lucky enough to get some gym equipment going. The room next to our garage downstairs was a nothing room, so we turned that into a home gym. We try stay strong and fit. We also keep busy doing some household chores and in the house. We try and do things that we generally would not have time to do like painting. We try and keep busy as much as possible. We don’t want to get too lazy, but it is quite challenging.
Q. Dane, as a sportswoman, what advice do you have for people out there on how to stay active and fit during this lockdown?
I think there are many ways to stay active. There are a lot of exercise videos online that you can check out and follow. You can be creative with things to lift if you don’t have weights. It’s important to stay fit or just active as much as possible. Thank goodness we’ve got this window period between 6am and 9am to get out and go for a jog and just get out and about. That’s also a great opportunity for people to just get out a bit and not just stay indoors all the time.
Q. What is your favourite movie of all time?
I love the Twilight saga so I’m going to stick with that.
Q. Who is your favourite band/musician?
Justin Bieber – I really love his music, I always have and I always will. I also really enjoy Adam Levine from Maroon 5’s music.
Q. Do you like to cook? What is your favourite food?
I love a braai. I could braai any day, all day. I really love that. I like a steak and salad. I know I don’t look like I always eat salad all the time but I enjoy a good steak and salad.
Q. Dane, what are your goals for your personal achievements in cricket for the year ahead?
At the moment just to get back out on the field. COVID-19 makes us a bit unsure about what is going on. I hope to just get back to where I was before my injuries last year. It was a really tough year for me personally. I felt like I was close to getting to the top of my game and then all of a sudden I got hit with a serious injury and then a minor injury, so that kept me out of the game for nine months. So just to first of all get back out on the park and then try to get back to that mental, physical and skills space that I was in. Those are my biggest goals.
Q. What are your goals for the team for the year ahead?
We’ll try to prepare to the ODI World Cup in New Zealand as much as possible. Again just try to get out on the park and prepare for the world cup. That’s very important to us. We’d love to get out onto the park and make sure that we cover all the bases to prepare for the world cup as soon as possible. Hopefully we can do one better and get into the final in 2021.
The Women’s ODI Cricket World Cup starts on the 6th February 2021.
Happy Birthday, Dane, from the people team!