Can Duminy rediscover the hunger?

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Duminy, Rilee Rossouw and Hardus Viljoen have been released by the Proteas to join their respective teams for the next round of Sunfoil Series matches. The first-class matches begin on Thursday and run through until Sunday – four days before the third Test against England starts at the Wanderers on January 14.

The extra game time will be especially beneficial to Duminy as the left-hander not only tries to get some much-needed time out in the middle, but to also rediscover his hunger for the longest format of the game.

The 32-year-old is at the crossroads of his international career, where the slog of working his way back into the Test side could be too much of a mental battle, especially when Duminy’s all-round Twenty20 skills are highly sought after.

He is the most capped Proteas T20 representative and has regularly been picked up at the Indian Premier League auctions after being initially bought by the Mumbai Indians for $900 000 back in 2009.

This was a golden period for Duminy that started in Australia where he struck a marvellous 166 in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG to seal South Africa’s first series victory Down Under. The fact that it was only the left-hander’s second Test made the achievement even more remarkable.

However, Duminy has not been able to fulfil his immense potential in the longer format since with a string of significant consecutive scores.

He has made vital contributions to the Proteas’ ascent to their world No 1 Test status with three further centuries against New Zealand in Wellington (2012), Australia in Port Elizabeth and Sri Lanka in Galle (both 2014).

He also put in further unheralded performances (Lord’s 2012 and Colombo 2014) that were meaningful in a team context, but his overall average of 32.80 after 33 Tests simply does not do justice to his talent.

To be fair to Duminy, though, he has endured a couple of serious injury setbacks over the past few years that have curtailed his progress.

There was the major Achilles injury sustained in freakish circumstances while warming down on the 2012 tour to Australia that kept him on the sidelines for six months, while he also suffers from a chronic knee injury that ruled him out of the home West Indies series last year and plagued his participation in the World Cup in Australasia.

He also split the webbing on his right hand while trying to field the ball off his bowling recently in India – that mishap forced him to miss the final two ODIs and the first Test in Mohali. The knee injury is actually a real concern, though, as Duminy regularly uses an ice-pack after a day’s play as part of his general recuperation process.

Taking all these factors into account, the upcoming few days out in the relative silence of Paarl could be significant in terms of what the next chapter in the Duminy career holds.

zaahier.adams@inl.co.za

@IndyCapeSport

Original source: Can Duminy rediscover the hunger?

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