JP Duminy will have a crucial bowling role to play in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup.
Last week, I wrote that the Proteas are a well balanced side. They will feel confident that series wins against New Zealand and Australia are well within their grasp.
The first leg of the tour, that is the series against New Zealand will present a few challenges, though, and I will be interested to see how the Proteas respond, particularly on the bowling front.
Dale Steyn, Morné Morkel, and Vernon Philander are world class, and Ryan McLaren has been a consistent performer in the 50-over format. Imran Tahir can blow hot and cold with those leg-spinners, but does have an important role to play in that attack. So too does JP Duminy, a player who has now established himself as an all-rounder.
I’ve been impressed with Duminy’s contributions in the shorter versions of the game. From a batting perspective, Duminy has thrived in the middle order. He controls the tempo of the innings, and evidently has the temperament to adapt to any situation.
Duminy has also done a great job with the ball in recent seasons. He’s been pretty economical, and has bowled particularly well to left-handed batsmen. It’s clear that Duminy has worked on his variation and is a real lbw threat when he bowls around the wicket.
He could trouble a few Kiwis or even an Australian as dangerous as David Warner if he is introduced at the beginning of an innings. I think Warner is especially vulnerable against spin during the early stages. He’s the type of player who prefers the ball coming on to the bat.
You never quite know what you are going to get from Tahir, but the Proteas would do well to stick with him. What I like about him is his variety, and that he is consistently troubles batsmen in the middle to lower order who are not as adept at watching the ball out of the hand.
Both New Zealand and Australia possess some dangerous free-scoring batsmen, and it may take some time for the Proteas’ bowlers to adapt to the conditions. There are some small grounds with short boundaries in New Zealand, and so you can expect the hosts to target the South African spinners.
It’s a challenge the Proteas will need to meet head on. And just as important as the execution of the individuals will be the support of the fielders, as well as the management of the skipper.
The Proteas have four quality seamers at their disposal, but the spinners will have a vital role to play Down Under. Captain AB de Villiers has a lot of experience, and his decision making in terms of when to bowl the likes of Duminy and Tahir will have a bearing on South Africa’s success.