Alfred Mothoa’s nickname is “Harmison”.
It’s clearly in reference to former England fast bowler Steve Harmison – a tall and imposing man.
The 27-year-old from Hammanskraal is hardly built like him but that’s not the reason for the comparison.
Instead, Mothoa sticks out his left, supporting arm extravagantly like Harmison when he bowls.
It looks impressive but that’s where the similarities end.
Thankfully, Mothoa’s greatest strength is something Harmison never mastered.
“Alfred is a good example of someone who puts in the work,” said Mandla Mashimbyi, the Titans’ assistant coach.
“For the last four years, he’s been grafting and trying to break into the professional side.”
Harmison took his chances to play international cricket for granted and many critics accused him of being lazy.
Mothoa made his first-class debut in December 2013 in the semi-professional setup for Northerns.
Three and a half years of sweat later, he’s a contracted player at the Titans – the most successful franchise in domestic cricket – for next season.
“I’ve been in the system for quite a while,” Mothoa told the Titans’ website.
“I’ve just been sticking to my strengths to get here. I pushed on. I was at home with the family when I got the call from (Titans) coach Mark Boucher about my contract. I actually wanted to tell my brother first – he’s always pushed me – but I couldn’t just pull him aside with all my family there.”
Mothoa’s promotion to franchise cricket is hugely significant.
This is not a man who had the opportunity to be snapped up by a big school.
Mothoa attended the humble Tipfuxeni Secondary and had to gradually work his way up.
It wasn’t quick but he got there.
And now, the Titans can celebrate the ultimate form of transformation: a homegrown product.
The significance isn’t lost on Mothoa.
“I want to be a role model for those kids at home,” he said.
“I want them to believe.”
Mothoa knows he’s playing in a very competitive environment with many stars.
But his franchise debut last season was promising.
He took four wickets in the domestic four-day match against the Warriors.
“When he played for the Titans – we gave him a simple mandate to go out and take wickets – and he went out and did it with flying colours,” said Mashimbyi.
Mothoa wants to continue doing that.
“I don’t want to be KFC and sell sushi,” he said.
“I want to be ‘Harmison’, the guy who keeps things in control, who keeps the run rate down and then snaps up the wicket.”