Mignon du Preez. © Getty Images

Walking into a Northerns’ training session, one will get to see two certainties – the daisy on the chest and a certain Mignon du Preez wearing it with the same level of pride that she did two decades ago. It is one of the most enduring love affairs in the South African game, and du Preez shows no signs of letting up with her attitude off the park and performance on it.

“I’ve played for Northerns for over 20 years. Playing for such a successful cricket union with the Daisy on my chest, has always been extremely special and a huge honour,” said du Preez. “I would definitely not be where I am today without the support from Northerns and their coaching throughout my playing career,” she added as the Proteas middle-order batter looked forward to another dash with the Daisies.

A massive part of her approach to cricket is to have fun. That much is evident in the ever-present smile on her face, which masks a gritty attitude and ability to dig her teams out of the unlikeliest of holes. “One of my main roles is encouraging youngsters and bringing my energy to fielding. It is also very important for me to keep making match-winning or game-changing contributions,” du Preez added.

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One of her most recent contributions on the field was the last-gasp heroics against England at the T20 World Cup in Australia in February-March. Her six in the final over got South Africa over the line which was incidentally her 100th international appearance, and it gripped the attention of the entire cricketing public.

“I am still having fun, and really enjoying my cricket. I just want to keep leading from the front with my work ethic,” she said. “It’s important for me to keep encouraging the youngsters and to bring energy to the field. I also really enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with the younger players.”

The next generation is something that du Preez always has an eye on, and she has already noted some good signs from a few players within the Northerns group. “There is a lot of talent within the Northerns squad. An exciting youngster to keep an eye on this season is Eliz-Mari Marx,” she tipped.