Eighteen seconds is all that separated Dane van Niekerk from a place at this year’s T20 World Cup on home soil.
The former South Africa captain has been a titan of the game for 14 years.
She has led teams to glory in The Hundred and the Big Bash and was recognised as one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the year in 2022.
None of that mattered, though, as she fell short of Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) strict cut-off time of nine minutes and 30 seconds for a two-kilometre run.
“A minimum standards test is indicative of a player’s commitment to fitness, to discipline, to the team culture,” said Dr Shuaib Manjra, CSA’s chief medical officer.
“These are not fitness tests to determine how fit a player is. They’re the minimum entry requirements. And they’re very generous minimum standards.”
Beyond the time trial, players must pass minimum standards tests for strength to…