MNYAKA: IT’S TIME TO STEP UP FOR MY TEAM
World Sports Betting Cape Cobras left-arm fast bowler Akhona Mnyaka is determined to play a pivotal role in both white-ball and red-ball cricket when the 2020/2021 season gets underway.
Mnyaka, just 20 years old, has played only one first-class match in his career, with 15 List A matches and 10 T20 matches to his name and the youngster is out to prove that he’s not just a limited overs cricketer.
“As a team, if we’re being honest, we didn’t do so well last season. We know where we finished so hopefully we’ll do better in the new season.”
“From a personal point of view, if I’m brutally honest with myself, I didn’t have any personal highs this past season. I’d like to improve that in the upcoming season and do better for the team. In terms of my lows, I obviously got injured so that was a big blow for me, so I am trying to keep fit, improve and try not to disappoint myself again to be more available to be selected to play.”
“Everyone plays to win, so we’d like to win at least one competition out of the two as a team. Personally, a goal for myself is to play a certain amount of games in 4-Day cricket where I haven’t really played much, so one of the goals would be to play in the 4-Day competition and perform well.”
Mnyaka is well aware that he won’t have senior heads around him in the bowling department this coming season, with the likes of Dane Piedt, Dane Paterson, Lizaad Williams and Rory Kleinveldt departing the franchise, but the former SA U19 star is not daunted by this prospect and is confident that he and his new team-mates will rise to the challenge.
“With the senior players having left, it is a fairly new squad, with new players, and the bowlers who are there haven’t been around for long in the team. So it is time for me to take it upon myself as I have been trying to do in the past season as well, but I think now more, it’s time to step up and lead from the front. Obviously there are older guys coming from different teams who have more experience that I could learn from and try and do my role better, perform for the team and put on good performances for the team, the TEAM before ‘I’.”
“It’s a really exciting new squad at the Cobras, it is more dimensional, and we’ve got different types of players, with different styles of playing the game. We’ve got a good strong squad to perform in both the red ball and white ball competitions,” he added.
With the nationwide lockdown currently in place in South Africa, Mnyaka is utilising this time to work on both the physical and mental side of his game to ensure that when cricket does eventually get underway, he is raring to go for coach Ashwell Prince.
“It (lockdown) has been pretty difficult, I’ve been trying to exercise, eat well and keep fit and healthy. Motivation-wise I keep going, and I’m using this opportunity to improve on my fitness and improve mentally in the game as well as outside of the game and how to handle myself.”
“I’ve been focusing on cardio mainly, a bit of running, some speed and endurance things – cardio is the main focus for me. I just really love cardio, it sort of helps me with everything else fitness-wise and so on.”
“Aside from working out I’ve been watching TV and trying to find ways to keep myself entertained,” he concluded.