However, primarily in the longer versions of the game recently, Duminy has stretched the patience of even his most ardent supporters. His graceful cover drive has become increasingly sparse, his confident footwork has been replaced with indecision, and even his bowling, so long underrated, has lost its “golden arm” charm.
This situation caused Duminy to lose his place for the New Year’s Test at Newlands against England – only for the left-hander to return to domestic cricket and post a career-best 260 not out for the Cape Cobras – before also suffering the indignity of being left out for the ODI series decider, also at his beloved homeground.
There are various theories floating around as to exactly why the 32-year-old’s services were not required, with Proteas coach Russell Domingo providing clarification yesterday.
“We wanted to have a look at Rilee Rossouw, who only played two games (in the series). And that was the main reason. JP has played every single one-day game for us in the last six or seven months, so it was a good time for him to just have a little break,” he said.
Domingo has long been a Duminy enthusiast. Since taking over the national side from Gary Kirsten in 2013, the Proteas mentor has wanted to build his limited-overs teams around Duminy’s prodigious talents.
It has no doubt been frustrating for Domingo to watch a player with so much natural ability struggle with the mundane things the game of cricket can throw up on occasion.
It is perhaps sound judgement from Domingo in the fact that he knows Duminy’s character better than most, and that he is best equipped in how to get the best out of a cricketer who will be integral to South Africa’s chances not only in the upcoming T20 series starting tomorrow against England at Newlands, but also at the World T20 in India next month.
“It’s a tough one because as much as people try and keep criticism away from you, and media speculation and constant scrutiny, it can weigh you down sometimes,” Domingo said.
“You see, he is not in bad form – he’s actually playing really well. The last T20 game we played, we chased 200 and he won the game for us and was the Man of the Series. JP is a quality cricketer. He is a phenomenal cricketer for South Africa, and has been for a long period of time.
“Unfortunately, what happens if a player misses out once or twice, gets a bad decision, hits a few bad shots, people write them off. He is a helluva player, and I’m expecting big things from him in this particular event.”
Besides Duminy’s batting prowess that was on display in all its glory during the last T20 series in India, and which he will hopefully rekindle before the Proteas embark for the subcontinent, Domingo will also be hoping that the all-rounder will also be able to fulfil an important role with the ball.
Domingo’s coaching philosophies in limited-overs cricket – both ODI and T20 – has always revolved around having “five frontline bowlers and a sixth and seventh part-timer”. If Duminy can contribute with the ball, too, it will allow the selectors greater flexibility in terms of packing the team with all-rounders or selecting an extra specialist spinner.
“I’ve always enjoyed having a good bowling attack in the shorter formats, having five frontline bowlers. I haven’t often had that, particularly in the one-day side, but I’ve always been a fan of having a really good bowling attack,” Domingo said.
“In my days at the Warriors, we were fortunate to have two spinners in (Nicky) Boje and (Johan) Botha. We had a Makhaya (Ntini), Rusty Theron. There was no easy let-off for the opposition with the ball.
“We’ve struggled to find that balance all the time, and finding the right personnel who can fulfil that fifth-bowler role and provide us with the right option.” - Cape TimesThe Proteas are desperate for JP Duminy to do well. He is their most experienced South African T20 international.
Original source: Domingo backs JP to come good