Mignon du Preez

Mignon du Preez started her cricket career earlier than most, at four years old, to be exact. And after scoring a double century at the tender age of 12 in a 40-over game, she realised her destiny would be on the sports field. It wasn’t just any innings, though, as she hit 16 sixes and 25 fours in an innings of 258 in a provincial Under-13 match between Gauteng and North Gauteng.

Fast forward five years and Du Preez is playing for the Proteas’ women’s side after being called in as a replacement for injured captain Shandre Fritz in the washed-out fifth ODI against Pakistan in January 2007.

Impressing selectors with her fine stroke play and cool temperament in the middle, she quickly became a mainstay in the side. It was natural progression that led the lithe blonde to be named team captain four years later in 2011, at only 21. A true patriot, Du Preez admits she still gets goosebumps when she slides into her cricket gear each time she prepares for the honour of leading the national team on to the field of play. The year 2012 will be a busy one for the young skipper as she leads her charges in the International Cricket Council Women’s World Twenty20.

To many it would be easy to boast about these achievements at such a young as age, but not Du Preez. To her the difference between hero and zero is a fine line and she’s always looking for ways to improve her talents.

“Always be aware of your talents and areas where you can improve. Everything comes down to making decisions. And with experience comes the ability to make the right decision within a split second and in tough times I decided to use my stumbling blocks as stepping stones to better myself.”

— Nickolaus Bauer

Twitter: @MdpMinx22