Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa all-rounder Jean Paul (JP) Duminy has announced that the Proteas “have a bit of a point to prove” during their upcoming series against Sri Lanka.
Duminy’s comments come after South Africa were thrashed 4-1 during their last ODI series in Sri Lanka in 2013.
“It is going to be a tough ask for us but I am confident we can make some inroads,” Duminy said. “We’ve got a nice squad going there. Because we are starting with one-dayers, it’s important for us to start well.”
South Africa have only won two out of the 16 ODIs they have played against Sri Lanka, the first in 1993 and the second in 2013.
“Last year we didn’t have Test matches there so that’s going to be an important aspect for us especially because we’ve lost the No.1 Test ranking,” he said. “We have a bit of a point to prove in getting that back.”
With South Africa having slipped down to second on the Test team rankings following their 2-1 loss to Australia in March, Duminy believes that other teams will think that the Proteas have become “vulnerable”.
“It’s a great thing if teams think that we are vulnerable,” he said. “If they have that sort of mindset coming into the game, it gives us an opportunity to prove them wrong.”
Duminy also stated that he isn’t worried about playing in spin-friendly conditions since his struggles against spin have become a thing of the past.
“Having that spin issue is something I have put behind me. I have improved a lot,” he said. “I can’t pinpoint exactly what the technical issue was because it has been three or four years but I am confident facing spin now. I have got good game plans facing spinners. The preparation has been important for me. And I suppose the experience in the IPL has helped as well because I was able to play in sub-continental conditions and face different kinds of spinners.”
In fact, Duminy is hoping that he can improve his bowling statistics with his tricky off-spin.
“My bowling has been going really well especially from a shorter format point of view, and it is about contributing a lot more, especially in Tests,” he said.
With South Africa having lost captain Graeme Smith and veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis, Duminy is likely to start batting higher up the order.
“If the opportunity to bat higher presents itself, I am not going to say no but for now I am happy to be in the side and settled in the team wherever I bat,” he said. “Batting at No.7 is a case of marshalling that lower order but having Vernon [Philander] at No.8 has been great for South African cricket. He is now ranked the No.1 all-rounder in the world and to have him at No.8 and Dale at No.9 – he’s no mug with the bat, has been a great help. It’s not that you have to marshal them too much, it is just a case of holding up your end and making sure you understand that it’s a partnership.”
Speaking about the 2015 World Cup, Duminy believes South Africa only have a few things to focus on before they are completely prepared.
“We are pretty settled in terms of the top order. It’s just about getting the combinations right in the middle to lower order. The guys have a fair idea of where we want to go,” he said. “The key is to understand what your end goal is but also identifying what your short goals are and make sure you meet them leading up to the end goal, which is winning the fifty-over World Cup. If we can meet short-term goals, we will give ourselves a good chance.”