Thursday, February 2, 2023

CSA: Mignon du Preez hangs up her bat in international cricket

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Momentum Proteas batter, Mignon du Preez has today announced her retirement from all forms of international cricket, including T20 Internationals (T20I), after a career spanning almost 16 years in the green and gold of South Africa.

Her once-in-a-lifetime involvement at the inaugural Women’s Cricket T20 tournament at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham proved to be her last international appearance for her country, specifically the emphatic 10-wicket victory against Sri Lanka on 04 August.

Du Preez previously retired from Test and One-Day Internationals (ODI) earlier in the year after taking part in the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.

Her statement is as follows:

“Fifteen years of international cricket, WOW, what a blessing it has been…

“It’s never an easy decision to step away from something you love as much as I love cricket, but I know in my heart that the time is right for me to announce my retirement from all forms of international cricket. However, I will still continue to play the shorter format of the game in the global leagues until such a time that I am blessed to become a mom and start a family of my own. Now for all the thank yous…

“The biggest thank you goes to Jesus Christ for giving me my talent and all the opportunities to play.

My motto has always been ‘My talent is God’s gift to me and what I do with it is my gift back.’ I know that I’ve used my talent to the best of my ability to glorify God’s name. Christ died for me and I got to play for Him.

“To my high-school sweetheart and now amazing husband, Tony, thank you for your endless support throughout my career. You were there when I made my debut in 2007 and you are still by my side 15 years later as I announce my retirement. Thank you for allowing me the freedom to follow my dreams. I am extremely excited about the next phase of our life together and can’t wait to start a family with you

“I will definitely not be where I am today without the support and endless sacrifices of my parents.

Thank you mom and dad for being there 24/7. I am very fortunate to have had an incredible support structure with amazing family and friends that stayed consistent regardless of my on-field performances and that’s been there for me every step of the way. A special thank you has to go to my dad for being my very first Mini-Cricket coach and for being the one who made me fall in love with this beautiful game. I am truly blessed with the best parents anyone could ever ask for. Thank you mom and dad for being such amazing role models and for always encouraging me to use my God-given talent.

“To my grandmother, aunt, sister, brother, their spouses and all my nieces and nephews, thank you for cheering me from the side lines and for all the WhatsApp messages and video calls while I was away on tour to help me feel part of the special occasions that I missed out on so often.

“Thank you to every single coach (all the way from Mini-Cricket, school cricket, provincial cricket and during the professional era) that invested time and energy and helped me to become the cricketer I am today. A special thank you has to go to Peter Harold and Curtly Diesel that invested hours into taking my game to the next level in the last couple of years.

“To Northerns Cricket Union, thank you for being my ‘home base’since I was 10 years old and for naming a Gate in my honour at Super Sport Park.

“To all my sponsors (past and present), I couldn’t have made it this far without you. Thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to represent your brand.

“To the fans, thank you for your on-going support through the highs, but especially during the lows. You guys drive us to be better cricketers and to put on a show every-time we step onto the field.

“To CSA, thank you for your continuous support, allowing me the opportunity to captain my country and for finally making women’s cricket a viable career option in SA.

“To SACA, thank you for always being a pilar of strength that players can rely on and for all the help to professionalize women’s cricket in South Africa.

“To the team management, thank you for everything you’ve done for me during my career. I appreciated it more than you know.

“To my teammates, thank you for all the memories that I can treasure for a lifetime. It was an honour to share the change room and field with each one of you. I will miss you all tremendously but can’t wait to follow your journeys to success and I will definitely be rooting for you from the side lines in the future.

“I will definitely miss the change room chats, the off-field friendships from all around the globe, travelling and learning about different cultures. However, I am extremely excited about the next phase of my life together with the ones that I love dearly and that have taken a back seat during the last 15 years of my career.

“My cricketing journey has been nothing short of a crazy rollercoaster ride with all the ups and downs, but oh boy, it was one hell of a ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world… To the cricket world, this is not goodbye, it’s just see you later! Lots of love and endless smiles,” she concluded.

The Tshwane-born star broke into the T20I set up in August 2007, seven months after making her South African debut as a 17 year old in ODI cricket. The now 33-year old has played in 114 T20Is, scoring 1, 805 runs at an average of 20.98, including seven half-centuries and a high score of 69 against Ireland at Solihull in 2014.

In that period, du Preez has also represented South Africa in a staggering seven ICC Women’s T20 World Cups since the inaugural edition in 2009. After being appointed the full-time national captain in 2011, the experienced batter wore the proverbial armband on 50 occasions – a Proteas Women record.

When it comes to the shorter format, “Minx” as she is affectionally known, enjoyed her best season, statistically, in 2014 where she helped South Africa qualify for their first ever T20 World Cup semi-final in Bangladesh. Du Preez ended that year with 369 runs from 20 matches, scoring at 24.60 with a strike rate of 91.56.

The Fidelity Titans stalwart was also a member of the Proteas squad that secured a second T20 World Cup semi-final appearance in Australia in 2020 where du Preez and her teammates went down to the hosts via Duckworth-Lewis and Stern (DLS).

Cricket South Africa (CSA) Director of Cricket, Enoch Nkwe commented:

“This is a bittersweet moment for South African cricket and the world at large as we bid farewell to one of the game’s favourite characters on the international stage. Over the last 16 years, du Preez’s professionalism and commitment shown towards her country has been exemplary, not only to those who follow in her footsteps but also to her teammates and peers in the game.

“A career entailing a total of 268 international matches, 5 565 runs including 25 fifties and three hundreds across Test, ODI and T20 cricket as well as 96 matches as captain, is one to be extremely proud of and has solidified her place as one of the country’s cricketing greats.

“On behalf of CSA and the wider cricketing fraternity, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mignon for her nearly two decades of service for her country and the game of international cricket.

“Her devoted, passionate team-first personality will be sorely missed and I wish her the very best with the rest of her career and life after the game.

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