If hunger for runs and dedication to hard work are the definitive qualities needed to be a great player, Aviwe Mgijima is one of the best in South Africa.
He might just be shortlisted for the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ Players Player of the season, such has been his consistency and his excellent contributions at number seven when the chips are down and the support crew is slim.
Seven might be a number associated with the Magnificent Seven and with a great openside flanker, but in cricket, it can be a particularly burdensome position.
A number seven batsman has to shepherd Nine, Ten and Jack, yet at the same time accelerate the innings.
As a sixth bowler, he has to possess the qualities to bowl five miserly overs without too much damage done to his personal figures and the team’s fortunes.
Mgijima has performed admirably in both portfolios, although, to be fair, he has seldom been summoned to operate as a bowler this season. When he was introduced on occasion in the Momentum One Day Cup competition, he did not let his skipper or his coach down.
As a batsman, he blasted 431 runs at an average of 28.73 in the Sunfoil Series with five half-centuries.
In the Momentum One Day competition, he has struck 157 runs at an average of 31.40, with two fifties.
“I focused on the basics and the hard work I did pre-season with Ashwell Prince and Paul Adams paid off,” said Mgijima.
“I lost some weight, but I’m not sure how many.
“I have possessed all the shots (in the coaching manual), but I did not execute them. But the longer and the more you bat, the more confident you become. And if you extend your time at the crease, you become more attacking,” Mgijima said.
The 28-year old batting all-rounder says the mathematics about what the Buildnat Cape Cobras require in the remainder of the competition is simple. “We have to win all four games.
“And we have to tighten up our fielding. Those are prerequisites if we want to get to the play-offs,” he added.