We caught up with South African international Mignon Du Preez to find out her career highlights and how God has been the route of her success.
Tell us how you first got into cricket?
I started playing cricket at the age of four via the Mini-Cricket program in South Africa. My dad was the coach of my elder brother’s Mini-Cricket team and they needed a player. At the end of the day I was the best ‘batter’ of the day and that is where my love started for the game.
At what point did you know you could make it as a professional?
I think when I scored 258* of 96 balls as a 13 year old girl, I realised that cricket might be my God-given talent and that I might be able to play it professionally in the future.
You made your debut for South Africa at the age of 17, talk us through that?
I did not make the initial squad to tour against Pakistan. However, a player got injured and I got my call-up…Finally my dream came true. To represent your country is really something special and very hard to put into words. I also managed to score my maiden 50 during this tour and ever since then, cemented myself into the side.
What have been some of your career highlights?
I have a number of them.When I became captain of the South African Women’s Cricket Team in 2011, when I scored my maiden test 100 in my first ever test in India, scoring my first ODI 100 against Bangladesh at the Wanderers. Beating NZ for the first time ever to make it through to our first ever ICC T20 World Cup Semi Final in Bangladesh in 2014 (I managed to score a 50 and was ‘Player of the Match’) and also playing in the first ever WBBL league in Australia.
You’ve captained of South Africa across all forms of cricket, what does that mean to you?
It was truly an amazing honour and something I will cherish for a lifetime. However, I’ve recently decided to step down as captain in order for me to focus on my own game as a batter and to contribute more to the team.
As someone who has broken many records on the batting side of the game, what’s the secret behind being a successful batsman?
Keeping it simple. Working very hard on batting specifics and technique during your training sessions, but once you step out onto the park, you should not overthink things, you need to back your preparation and let trained-instinct take over to play every ball on its merit.
Who was your cricketing idol growing up and why?
Sachin Tendulkar – He always had a presence at the crease. He is definitely a cricket legend, yet he always stayed humble and never got too big for the game.
How would you describe yourself as a player?
I am a hard worker and always willing to go the extra mile. I am very enthusiastic. Focussed yet light hearted. I like to be an example on and off the field. I’ve got good sportsmanship and I know where my talent comes from. My motto is that your talent is God’s gift to you and what you do with it is your gift back to God.
Best player you’ve played against?
That would be Meg Lanning.
Talk to us about how you came to know God?
I was very fortunate to be raised in a Christian home and committed my life to Christ from an early age. Through going to church, attending small cell groups and surrounding myself with like-minded individuals, I really got to know God on an intimate level. Finally on the 9th August 2015 I decided to get baptised.
How does God feature in your life as a cricketer?
I think the following quote sums it up, “Being a Christian athlete doesn’t mean praying for your team to win. God doesn’t give an edge to those who pray over those who don’t. Hard work does that. Being a Christian athlete means competing for Christ, in a way in which you always give your all for Him. Win or lose, you thank him for the ability and opportunity to play. It means giving all the glory to God, no matter the outcome.”
Thank you Jesus Christ that you died on the cross for me&because of what you did, my sins are washed away… pic.twitter.com/yoyPgwvky3
— Mignon du Preez (@MdpMinx22) March 25, 2016
Do you see yourself as a role model to other Christians?
Yes, I like to believe so.
What’s your favourite Bible verse?
I love Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”