JP Duminy says his decision to withdraw from this year’s IPL has allowed him to focus all of his attention on the Champions Trophy.
It would have been a tough decision for Duminy to make. The 33-year-old is a stalwart in the IPL. He’s a household name with the Delhi Daredevils, and he was their captain in the 2015 season.
With an average of 44.13 from 38 matches, the Daredevils could’ve done with his runs in the middle order this season. Indeed, the only South Africans who can say they’ve scored more runs than him in the IPL are AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis.
The riches that come with the tournament makes playing in it difficult to turn down. But before its existence, this period used to be a rare window in the international schedule that the players typically used as downtime.
With 191 runs from 11 innings at an average of 21.22 this year, Duminy has struggled for form in the 50-over format for the Proteas. He could’ve used the IPL as an escape route, but instead restored the faith of the traditionalists by choosing country over club.
‘You miss the friendships and the camaraderie that comes with the IPL, but there was a bigger purpose at play,’ Duminy tells SACricketmag.com during their training session at the London School of Economics.
‘I really enjoyed the break. It was time spent with family and getting some time away from the game. Then it was spent preparing for the Champions Trophy,’ he continues.
‘I felt like there was a bit of work to be done and hopefully I can execute the work I’ve put in.’
Duminy spent longer than most in the nets on Thursday. He was in good touch with the bat, and spin coach Claude Henderson appeared to be particularly pleased with the way he was bowling. Yet there remains a bit of uncertainty over how much he will bowl, and indeed where he will bat.
He’s only sent down 13 overs from his five matches on tour, and over the past year – despite usually being chalked in at No 5 – he’s batted in four different positions. It doesn’t concern Duminy too much, who is aware that his role in both disciplines comes down to the match situation.
‘It all depends on the conditions,’ he says. ‘England isn’t particularly spin-friendly; there wasn’t too much spin available in the England series. But I’ll definitely give the captain the nod to give me the ball. I’ve put in a lot of work to capitalise should I get a bowl.’
‘Generally No 5 or 6 [with the bat] is where I fit in to the understanding of the team dynamic,’ he continues. Getting the opportunity to bat at No 3 doesn’t happen often, but it was an opportunity to stake a claim. It always depends on the situation of the game.’
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