Duminy attempted the customary “get-out-of-jail” sweep-shot, but it was to no avail as Harbhajan delivered an intoxicating array of off-spinners at various speeds and from different angles to flummox the little left-hander. That, though, was five years ago and Duminy has proved in the intervening period that he is far more methodical in his approach to playing spin, especially on the sub-continent.
He no longer resembles a jack-in-the-box in the way he previously hopped out of his crease to answer the probing questions Harbhajan posed. At 32 years old, Duminy has greater confidence and is far more relaxed about his game – both technically and mentally – and this has resulted in him giving himself more time to decide on whether to press forward, stay back, choose the right line of the delivery especially when on his pads, and importantly, the correct moment to haul out that sweep shot.
A Test century against Sri Lanka that proved pivotal to South Africa winning the first Test in Colombo last year, and ultimately the series, coupled with sterling performances in the World T20 in Bangladesh and subsequent IPLs is further evidence that Duminy’s spin game is maturing.
But class players don’t rest on their laurels, especially when they know their litmus test – a return tour to India in November lies ahead this season, which is why Duminy has enrolled at Cricket South Africa’s specialist spin bowling camp next week at the Centre of Excellence in Pretoria.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that I need extra work on playing spin. I think I have done extensive work on that part of my game over the past few years, and hopefully the results have shown this. But we are playing lots of cricket on the subcontinent this year, with tours to Bangladesh and India, and in places like that, spin is generally what dominates the match,” Duminy said on Wednesday.
“There is a break before we go to Bangladesh and it’s a bit cold and wet in Cape Town, so if there is an extra opportunity for me to have a net and face plenty of spin bowling it can only be beneficial. Likewise, it is an opportunity for me to get out and bowl some more and work on my off-spinners and kill two birds with one stone.”
The spin bowling camp will be conducted by former Proteas’ Nicky Bojé and Paul Adams, who will assist the bowlers, while HD Ackerman and Neil Johnson will share their wisdom with the batsmen. Will Duminy be looking to Johnson – also a left-hander – for particular advice, especially in regard to the sweep shot?
“We’ll bounce a few ideas around, and I’ll have a few chats with the younger guys. I always enjoyed asking senior Proteas for advice during the early stages of my career and I’ll be glad to pass on some of my experience of playing on the subcontinent,” Duminy said. “Regarding the sweep shot in particular, I still think it is a good weapon in playing spin because it can be used to attack or simply to get down to the other end.”
WHO WILL BE AT THE SPIN CAMP
Spin bowlers: Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Ruben Klaasen (Northerns), Bjorn Fortuin (Gauteng), Tshepo Ntuli (Free State), Dane Piedt (Cape Cobras), George Linde (Cape Cobras), Shaun von Berg (Titans), Sean Whitehead (Free State/SA U-19), Ndudoza Mfoza (KZN Coastal/SA U-19), Tshepiso Ndwandwa (CSA Fort Hare Academy), Lizo Makhoso (EP Academy)
Batsmen: Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions), Rudi Second (Knights), Theunis de Bruyn (Titans), Omphile Ramela (Cape Cobras), Gihahn Cloete (Knights), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Reeza Hendricks (Knights), Rivaldo Moonsamy (Northerns/SA U-19), Dean Foxcroft (Northerns/SA U-19), Wiaan Mulder (Gauteng/SA U-19), Dayyaan Galiem (WP/SA U-19) - The StarJP Duminy has come a long way from the tortured soul he appeared to be on the Indian tour in 2010.
Original source: JP out to avoid ending up in a spin