Gregory Mahlokwana: Talented spinner is seeing his cricketing dreams come true at Titans
For the ambidextrous Gregory Mahlokwana, it is hard to find a wrong side of bed to get out of lately.
The talented spinner is seeing his cricketing dreams come true, and his graduation into the senior Titans franchise squad is the latest of his goals being ticked off. Naturally, he wants to grab the opportunity - with both hands.
"I watched franchise games from a young age, and seeing guys I played with in the Northerns age-group teams playing the highest level really motivated me," he said of his aspirations.
He did take a slight detour, with a stint in the Eastern Cape taking him away from the Sky Blues for a while.
"I had an opportunity to further my studies through the University of Fort Hare in Alice. When I came back from Fort Hare, the guys really motivated me and told me I have what it takes and could go far in cricket."
He soon started getting attention in wider circles, especially when he made a splash in the Africa Cup in 2017.
"I have already made some really awesome memories in the game. Taking 4/22 against Northern Cape, and then playing in the Africa Cup, when I bowled left and right-arm for the first time on television."
The sight of a bowler switching from off-spin to left-arm orthodox was incredible, but it was more than just a party trick. Mahlokwana is equally adept at bowling and affecting matches with both disciplines, and the Titans soon noticed.
When he went on a pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi a few seasons ago, he got to showcase his ability on an even bigger stage. The Titans have always looked to blood youngsters in an environment that brings out the best in them, and it was no different for the ever-smiling Mahlokwana.
"I remember Albie Morkel came to me and said, 'Greg, I'm about to make you famous by letting you bowl left and right,'" he recalls with a chuckle.
"We were playing against Auckland, and it was my Titans T20 debut. That is a really proud moment for me."
Now, he is a proper Titan, expected to deliver performances that will bring joy to the Sky Blues family. It is an honour that he doesn't take for granted.
"I'm honoured and privileged to be joining the Titans officially," he said. "It was a bit of a shock, actually. I thought I might not get a contract because I was injured towards the end of the season, but it shows that the hard work I've been putting in over the past few years has finally paid off."
Naturally, he wants to try and help the Titans to win major titles and add to their rich history in the franchise scene. But he is also looking forward to becoming colleagues with some of the best players South Africa has ever produced.
"I'm really looking forward to playing with Henry Davids - Mr Experience! I can't wait to pull as much information as I can from him," he chuckled.
"Jokes aside, he is one of the guys that welcomed me with the warmest hands in 2017, when I started working with the franchise squad."
Now, the little man who can make the ball spin a long way can call Davids and a clutch of stars his teammates. It is like a dream, and it has come true.
©Cricket World 2020