JP Duminy chatted to SA Cricket magazine back in September, and discussed the culture workshop that played its part in building up the spirit within the camp.
Here’s what Duminy said back them ahead of the beginning of the summer season …
August officially signalled the start of a busy international summer for the Proteas, and boy am I excited for what lies ahead. The series against New Zealand was especially important for us as a unit after a poor period of Test results last season. We started off our preparation for the series with a two-day culture workshop which included all of the players currently involved in the Proteas setup. A strong culture was the foundation that carried us to the top of the ICC Test rankings and we wanted to realign our priorities as a squad and to recommit towards taking the Proteas back to the top of World Cricket. It was a refreshing couple of days spent in honest and constructive conversations, which not only made us stronger as a unit, but more importantly, it made us all realise what a privilege it is to represent South Africa in a sport we are all deeply passionate about.
We were aware of the threat that New Zealand has become as a Test team and coming off an-off season it was important for us to prepare thoroughly and tirelessly. We got together a week before the first Test – we normally only get together three days before – so the mandate for the squad was clear: we didn’t want to leave a stone unturned for a series that would set an important marker for the season ahead. We were hungry and determined to play well and that came through in the ruthless manner we won the second match at Centurion.
We aren’t proud of where our performances have been over the last year and we are focused on improving them. Personally, it was also a critical series for me and my Test career. I will be the first to admit that I haven’t been anywhere near my best in this format so it was important for me to make substantial contributions. I have been feeling good in the nets and in practice but it was vital for that form to translate onto the cricket field. I was happy with the 88 I scored – I was probably more disappointed that I didn’t convert it into a big score – but the time in the middle gave me confidence so hopefully I can continue with that in the upcoming tours. Australia is going to be the big one for us. I think the series will be the perfect test to assess where we are as a Test team. I always enjoy touring Australia – the conditions are similar to those in South Africa – but a fired up Australian team, along with a vocal crowd, heightened media attention and hype, tests you like no other series.
Off the field I’ve been keeping busy with the JP 21 project which just seems to grow in leaps and bounds. My motto is ‘Inspiring Minds, Changing Lives and Growing Champions’ and it gives me great pleasure and purpose to spend time and energy giving back to those less fortunate. I’m excited for what the future holds and I am extremely grateful to all of the sponsors, volunteers, my family and friends for the support they continue to give this initiative.
Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images