JP Duminy’s contributions to the Proteas Test side in recent series should not be discounted.
The 2013-14 season was a defining one for Duminy, and was a time for an immensely promising batsman to deliver for the Proteas. That century against Australia in the second Test at St George’s Park was a big statement of intent, and what I’d like to see from hereon in is consistency.
I’ve always believed Duminy had the ability to be a great Test batsman, although I have often wondered about his mental discipline. Too often, he’s got himself out with a rash stroke. It was pleasing to see him, and indeed several other South African batsmen, putting their heads down and building a total of substance in that first innings at St George’s Park. Duminy was under pressure to produce a big score, and he didn’t disappoint. That being said, a big contribution by Duminy must become the rule in the coming years, rather than the exception.
Duminy made a statement in Port Elizabeth, and if he continues in this vein, then the runs will continue to flow. He’s a valuable member of the Proteas’ line-up in that he also offers a handy spin-bowling option. I’d say he’s been every bit as effective as Robin Peterson in that holding role.
He is starting to deliver on his promise at Test level, but continues to be an important figure in the limited-overs formats. The Proteas will look to him to make a big contribution with bat and ball in subcontinent conditions that should suit his style of play.
I’m glad that the Proteas have persevered with Duminy, although I feel he needs to be brought up the order to No 5. AB de Villiers should be batting at No 4 if South Africa are truly to fill the void left by the retired Jacques Kallis.
Faf du Plessis has made some important contributions down the order, but I don’t think he is ready for that responsibility at No 4. Take the wicketkeeping duties away from De Villiers and allow him to concentrate on his batting in what is a crucial position.
He’s been in magnificent form, but I worry that those hours of crouching and diving will eventually lead to serious hand and back injuries. Considering his importance as a batsman, it’s not worth the risk. Bring Quinton de Kock in at No 7 on a permanent basis, and allow the youngster to grow into that wicketkeeper-batsman role.
South Africa have performed well with the bat and ball recently, but the one aspect that has concerned me is the fielding. Too many catches were lost, and the Proteas should consider themselves fortunate it didn’t cost them the series in Port Elizabeth. It’s something to bear in mind as they gear up for the new season, and the ODI World Cup in 2015. These short-format games are over in the blink of an eye, so you cannot afford to put catches down.