Johannesburg, Dec 9 (IANS): South Africa women's batter Mignon du Preez on Friday announced her retirement from all forms of international cricket, including T20Is after a career spanning almost 16 years in the green and gold jersey.
Mignon, South Africa's most-capped female cricketer, made her last international appearance at the inaugural Women's Cricket T20 tournament at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August. She previously retired from Tests and ODIs earlier in the year after taking part in the 2022 ODI World Cup in New Zealand.
"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 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..." said Mignon in her retirement speech, where she expressed gratitude to the Almighty and her husband Tony.
She broke into the T20I setup in August 2007, seven months after making her South Africa debut as a 17-year-old in ODIs. At the time of retirement, Mignon, 33, 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.
"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."
"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 SuperSport Park," she added.
In that period, Mignon 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 donned captaincy duties on 50 occasions -- a record for South African women's cricket.
"To the fans, thank you for your ongoing 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 my teammates, thank you for all the memories that I can treasure for a lifetime. It was an honour to share the changing 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 sidelines 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," she elaborated.
Mignon enjoyed her best season, statistically, in 2014 where she helped South Africa qualify for their first-ever T20 World Cup semifinal in Bangladesh. She ended that year with 369 runs from 20 matches, scoring at 24.60 with a strike rate of 91.56.
She was also a member of the Proteas squad that secured a second T20 World Cup semifinal appearance in Australia in 2020 where they went down to the eventual champions via the Duckworth-Lewis and Stern (DLS) method.
Mignon would lead South Africa into the 2022 ODI World Cup semifinal with a last-ball victory over India in the final league match before South Africa lost to future runners-up England in the semi-final.
"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 have been exemplary, not only to those who follow in her footsteps but also to her teammates and peers in the game."
"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," said Enoch Nkwe, Director of Cricket, CSA.