Faf du Plessis said that JP Duminy will be the first to understand if he gets dropped for the second Test against England at Trent Bridge.
Duminy has been in disappointing form for the Proteas. In his last eight innings for the Test side, his highest score has been 39. The 33-year-old has a career average of 32.85 after playing 46 Tests since he made his debut in 2008.
In the absence of Du Plessis, Duminy only managed to score 15 and two batting at No 4 for the Proteas, as they suffered a 211-run defeat at Lord’s in the opening Test.
Du Plessis will return to captain the side after missing the first Test due to the birth of his child, and he was frank about Duminy’s form, as well as the players who potentially deserve a chance.
‘JP will be the first guy to say he knows he needs to score runs for this team and it’s no different for anyone else,’ Du Plessis told ESPN Cricinfo.
‘He is desperate to do well as anyone in that position. You want to try and score runs every time you go out. He knows at the end of the day that it’s about [scoring] runs.
‘He understands that if it has to come to a position where there is someone else that needs to be looked at, he will be the first to acknowledge [that]. He is a crucial part of our senior player group and he will always put the team interests above himself so yes, he will be the first to acknowledge that.’
There are a number of issues that the Proteas have to sort out for their crucial second Test at Trent Bridge. Du Plessis will slot back into the middle-order, which might push Theunis de Bruyn out the side, who scored 48 in the first innings in difficult circumstances for the Proteas.
Kagiso Rabada, who will miss the second Test after picking up a fourth demerit point for swearing after he dismissed Ben Stokes, will likely be replaced either by all-rounder Chris Morris or specialist seamer Duanne Olivier. Du Plessis even went as far as to suggest that both could be included.
‘With losing KG – do you look at possibly playing a four-seam attack because you are losing quite a high-quality bowler? That means there would be a batsman that will miss out,’ Du Plessis continued.
De Bruyn’s contribution in the first Test has given him a chance of being selected for the second Test and Du Plessis recognised that, increasing the speculation that Duminy might be the one to get the chop.
‘You can look at someone like De Bruyn who has played pretty well this game – standing up at Lord’s and it’s only his second Test match. He was solid in that first innings. He played well,’ Du Plessis continued.
‘Temba has once again been consistent. But now, something Temba needs to work on is making sure he converts those starts. He is playing brilliantly but he knows that fifties don’t win us matches. The difference between the two teams is that one guy scored 190. That changed the outcome of the game.’
Du Plessis also addressed Heino Kuhn’s performance in the opening Test, which saw him accumulate 10 runs (one and nine) over the two innings.
‘Heino Kuhn is not a young guy anymore but he is new to Test cricket,’ Du Plessis said.
‘I don’t think everything is supposed to be a fairytale where you just rock up and score two hundreds in your first game. Ask Dean. He got a pair in his first game. It’s about character and how you stand up to that. This will be good. It will make him stronger.’
The second Test will start on Friday at 12:00pm SAST.
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