Duminy will now hope to cement his place in the Test squad for many years to come
It was in 2008 after Ashwell Prince sustained an injury that South Africa batsman Jean Paul (JP) Duminy made his Test debut, but the left-hander has not had an easy time in permanently securing his spot on the South African Test roster.
Duminy was then picked again four years later after veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis went down with some stiffness in his neck just before a Test match in Wellington, but it wasn’t after Mark Boucher’s career ending freak eye injury that Duminy became a regular in the Test squad.
Duminy has experienced what it feels like to go through a rough batting patch as he managed to score only 272 runs in 14 innings at an average of 19.43 after playing in the 2008-2009 series against Australia.
Even though it was enough to convince selectors that he should be dropped from the Test team, Duminy was still a regular face in the limited overs squads for South Africa.
It was only in December 2010 after scoring a double century against the Dolphins that the national selectors took notice of Duminy once again.
“It was tough at times. I was coming off such a high [in Australia] and it’s difficult to maintain those sorts of performances, you will go through ups and down and I was fortunate enough to have good people around me to work through those problems. The circumstances of being brought back into the team were also tough with Boucher getting injured but it was about taking the opportunity as well,” Duminy said.
Since Boucher’s retirement, Duminy has been included in the Test squad to come in at seventh and this has bolstered the South African batting lineup to go along with their world class pace attack as well.
Duminy noted that not batting somewhere in the middle order and being the last batsman before the tail was exposed took some time to sink in.
“One thing I have learned batting at No.7 and with the tail is that bowlers tend to forget about you, with bowlers not worrying about you, you tend to get more lose deliveries. They are happy to get you off strike,” Duminy added.
Duminy’s role as a lower middle order batsman came in handy during the third Test against England at Lord’s when he and pace bowler Vernon Philander put together a brilliant 72 run partnership.
Duminy now realises that he will be counted on to score a good amount of runs lower down the order to frustrate the opposing team’s bowlers and increase the pressure on them as well.
“You get let off by some bowlers but you can find yourself in difficult situations with the team 100 for 5, so there are two ways to look at it. I think I have grown in that role in the last three Tests and I want to start cementing a long career in Test cricket,” Duminy said.
The left-hander knows that everyone will be talking about him after his performance against the Australians in the 2008-2009 series.
“This is a starting point for me again. What’s happened in the past is in the past,” Duminy added.
Coming into the series against Australia, Duminy has already scored 271 runs in his last four innings at an average of 45.17, but he knows that underestimating the Australian pace attack is a disaster waiting to happen.
“This time, there is a little less experience, with saying that, they have a quality attack. We’re going to have to play well against them. If we can get through the initial parts of the Test match and be positive in the first innings we can do well,” Duminy said.