Faf du Plessis has admitted that the first Test against England was JP Duminy’s last chance to impress in a Proteas Test shirt.
Without a fifty from his last eight innings, and with just one century in 16, it appears Duminy’s time is well and truly up, after Du Plessis admitted that the England tour was going to be Duminy’s last series to prove his worth. Scores of 15s, and two in their heavy defeat at Lord’s hit the nail in the coffin.
‘When we went to England we thought there might be a possibility that we needed to change the side, and we felt that England was going to be Duminy’s last opportunity, so that didn’t go to plan,’ said Du Plessis.
‘The plan was for him to play the whole series, but when he didn’t score we felt it was time to give someone else a run.’
Du Plessis said that getting the balance right with the side was one of the most difficult tasks on tour, especially with the injuries to Vernon Philander and Chris Morris at varying stages of the series throwing the selectors off.
‘When JP was out it was an opportunity to bring in a bowler and it worked brilliantly in the second Test because Morris came in and scored runs. He’s never going to be required to bowl as many overs as the main bowlers, so the fact that he and Vern scored runs was great for us. Getting that balance between seven batsmen and four bowlers was the toughest task.’
Quinton de Kock batted in four different positions throughout the series. At Lord’s the use of a nightwatchman forced him down to No 8, but he was bumped up to No 5 in the second innings. A half-century in the first innings at Trent Bridge coming in at No 4 allowed him to stay there for two Tests, before he was put down to No 6 at Old Trafford. Du Plessis thinks that is where he’s more comfortable.
‘For Quinny, we wanted someone to put pressure on the England bowlers, and putting him up to No 4 worked fantastically in that game [at Trent Bridge],’ said Du Plessis.
‘But with that we understand that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The thing we learned about Quinton on this tour is that he’ll have to change his game sometimes. At times he needs to absorb the pressure a bit. Quinton is at his best when he plays the way he wants to play.
‘He wants to bat at No 4, but if he’s honest with himself, he probably prefers coming in a bit later so that there’s less pressure,’ Du Plessis concluded.