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Fiery Frank ... North Otago fast bowler Francois Mostert steams in during the Hawke Cup game against Southland at Centennial Park last month. PHOTO: PHIL JANSSEN

The king needs a break.

Francois Mostert is “cricketed out” and is relishing the prospect of a six-month break from the game that he loves – and that he is rather good at – but that has worn him down in recent times.

The South African fast bowler flew home to South Africa last Sunday and, for the first time in six years, he will not think about cricket when he wakes up every morning.

“I’m basically taking a break from the game for six months,” Mostert told the Oamaru Mailbefore he left.

“I will do a bit of training here and there, but I won’t play any cricket. My body needs a break. It’s breaking down a little bit, especially the shoulder.”

Twelve consecutive seasons, across New Zealand and the United Kingdom, had taken its toll, Mostert said.

“It’s going to be very nice to pack away the bags and try to really get my hunger back for cricket.

“I think I’ve lost that hunger in the last couple of months. When you eat, sleep and breathe cricket the whole day, it can get tiring after a while.

“I love the game, but I need to spend some time away for it for a while.”

Mostert (25) was looking forward to spending time with his parents and brother at home in Pretoria.

His “anything but cricket” plans included golf, fishing and possibly working on a farm, as well as his other great love: hunting.

“Nothing of the big five – just deer, springbok, warthogs, that sort of thing.”

Mostert will also welcome the chance to spend quality time with his partner, Kristi, who is teaching in China but will return to South Africa later in the winter.

As for the million-dollar question, Mostert is unable to say for sure if he will return to Oamaru next summer.

He loves the town, and values the loyalty shown to him by North Otago cricket, but the call of his native land is always strong.

“It’s mixed emotions, I think. Obviously I’ve been in North Otago for five seasons, so I almost want to call this home.

“But my family is still in South Africa. That’s still home.”

Mostert’s impact on North Otago, Valley and Waitaki Boys’ High School cricket as a player and coach over five seasons is almost incalculable, though the statistics make compelling reading.

For North Otago, he has 156 wickets (fourth in the history of the province) at 10.61, and 1272 runs (including three centuries) at 39.75.

Mostert might be an aggressive cricketer but he is a humble character off the field, and he plays down the suggestion he must be proud of his own achievements.

“When I look at my own personal performances, I wouldn’t really like to say that.

“But when I look at team performances, and youth cricket, and rep stuff, and the Waitaki Boys’ team, that’s where I will say I am proud. It’s all about the team.”

Mostert thought North Otago was good enough to win the Hawke Cup this season for a third time.

“Definitely. I think we had a better team last season, and the results showed that.

“It was a bit of a shame to fall short against Southland, but I think they just wanted it a little bit more than us. It’s cricket. You can’t always win.”

Maybe not – but North Otago won the lottery the day the king arrived.