Champions Trophy 2013 May 29, 2013

Duminy confident of making impact on return


What could have been a painfully long six months for JP Duminy actually turned into a pleasantly productive period. He spent the time recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, which forced him out of the game but into other pursuits - like voice training and adopting abandoned dogs.

"It's been a long road but I've learnt a lot about myself," Duminy told ESPNcricinfo before the South African squad departed for a training camp in Amsterdam. "When you're out of the game for so long, you find out new things about yourself because you are focusing outside of cricket."

On his return from Australia, where the injury occurred, Duminy had no choice but to take some time off while his foot was enclosed in a boot. He could barely walk so exercise was out of the question. He and his wife Sue went away on weekends, exploring the South African coastline and bush and spending time with their family.

After meeting up with an animal rescue organisation that seeks to find new homes for dogs that have been mistreated, they decided to adopt Dimples. They have since added a second hound to the brood. The pets played their own role in Duminy's recovery, with walks on the beach a regular activity once the boot came off.

Activities like boxing, swimming and upper-body training kept Duminy fit and it was only in the last month that he was able to resume cricketing activity. With Gary Kirsten also Cape Town based, Duminy had a personalised session with the coach to get his eye back in.

And that was not the only way Duminy stayed connected to cricket. He also made sure he was up to speed with the team's goings on and was a guest commentator for SABC during the home series against Pakistan. He enjoyed that so much, he signed up at the Voice Clinic to improve his delivery and presentation skills.

Now the dalliances behind the scenes are over and Duminy is ready to make his comeback in a global tournament with high expectations. In the absence of Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith, Duminy is likely to slot straight back in to the XI, ahead of the likes of Farhaan Behardien or David Miller, even though those two have been playing cricket more recently than he has. Duminy, however, is not too concerned about going in cold.

"It's hard to say [if] I'm worried about form because I've got nothing to go by. I've got to go out there, thinking best when fresh [at the crease]," he said. "I am confident I can produce the goods I have in the past. I've played my role pretty well over the last few years so it's just about slotting back in there."

Duminy is also ready mentally, in that he has managed to banish the fear that a freak accident could happen at any time, as it did, to the back of his mind. "I've had some very good people looking after me, an outstanding medical team and fitness trainer. If they say I am ready to play again, I've got every confidence in them that they know what they are talking about."

He had his first net session on Tuesday and told the team's Youtube channel it went well. "I was a little bit nervy at first, but it was great to be out there again spending time with the guys and facing competitive bowlers," he said. "That was the key thing for me and it was a really good first net. After a six-month lay-off you're worried about how it's going to go and whether you are going to time the ball well. So I was pretty pleased with the way it went."

South Africa play two matches before the tournament starts, against the Netherlands on Friday and Pakistan next Monday, so Duminy will have two more opportunities at the crease before the competition really starts. Then, he knows the pressure will be massive and he will be one of South Africa's key figures in their bid for major tournament silverware.

"The expectation on us is similar to what it has always been and we want to win," he said. "But there are no guarantees that we will win. We want to do our best and hopefully that best is that we will come back with the trophy."

According to Duminy, it will be important for the squad not to be haunted by their failings in the past. "It's tough to say [that] we've accepted those defeats better because there is no easy way to do that. What we have to make sure is that our self-belief is not stamped on. We still believe in ourselves as people and as a team and we know we will get there at some stage. Eventually the hard work will pay off."

And if it doesn't pay off this time? "If things don't go well, the sun will still rise, life will still go on." After his injury layoff, Duminy knows that better than most.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anurag on May 30, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    I like dUMINY but he has never asserted himself as a regular for SA. Sometimes his strike rates is also left desirable. Not a real match winner.

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    Ithink that the proteas have a better chance of winning this as much as any other team. How nice it would be winning the last champions trophy having been the team to win the first one. Winning icc silverware means the you have to be consistent and be able to concentrate at crucial times. If South africa were to win this that would need for mistakes like the ones made against pakistan in last year's world t20 never to be repeated. I think that the batsmen are going to be key to the team winning the tournament. As far as the bowlers are concerned I think we have some good bowlers but the problem is that none of them can get a batsman out when it is necessary to do so. Cleaning up the tail is another problem, as is the death bowling. Peterson may be handy in breaking partnerships. Steyn's ODI record is not so great. Tsotsobe has his days. Morkel, mclaren and kleinveldt are in between. My XI: AMLA,PETERSEN,DU PLESSIS,AB,DUMINY,MILLER,PETERSON,MCLAREN,STEYN,MORKEL AMD TSOTSOBE.

  • Kendal on May 30, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    Man this a sight for sore eyes...he was playing really well in that English Test series, the lower order runs he added with Philander in that Lords Test were vital to the final outcome of the series. But maybe this injury was a blessing in disguise as he alluded to - time to focus on other stuff and come back sharper and stronger. He was pretty much the rock of the ODI middle order for a good long while so hopefully he can find that form easily again - all the best.

  • Anupam on May 30, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    Duminy is a very good batsman in the lower middle order he can bat in all gears. And he is a useful part time bowler and experienced which is required in the absence of Smith & Kallis. I don't know why Philander is not in CT. Except of Steyn no one is bowling good in last overs. Tsotsobe, Morkel, Mclaren are expensive. Amla, Ingram, FaF, AB, Miller, Duminy, Mclaren, Robin, Morkel, Steyn, Tsotsobe. This squad is most probable which will play. Alviro we love to see you in test. CT'13 for SA.

  • Geeva on May 30, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    Think he should be eased into the team...achilles injury ends careers.

  • Deepak on May 30, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Welcome back Jp,u are a sight for sore eyes.Missed u a lot during this period.Hope u get to play and play well.And also hope the team does well!!!

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    My Team.


    If u want to win ten tis wil be the Best team.

  • Duncan on May 29, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    Brittle teams, ones that crumble under pressure, are often over-reliant or over expectant of one or two players; England when KP was their only act, Australia with Ponting but without the rest of the old guard, India with Dravid, SRT after their prime (thank heavens for Dhoni), WI... It is a team game, better to have a team that all performs rather than one or two stars.

  • Dummy4 on May 29, 2013, 17:30 GMT

    Duminy was an important member of the ODI side before his injury so his comeback should boost up the middle order for the Saffers. SA have a very good side and will definitely start off as one of the favorites.

    My SA XI:

    Amla, A Petersen, AB, Ingram, Duminy, Du Plessis, Miller, R Peterson, Steyn, M Morkel and Tsotsobe

  • Dummy4 on May 29, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Having given this some thought perhaps the absence of Kallis and Smith is a positive in the sense that it has lowered expectations and means that less established players are forced to take more responsibility. Also, watch tapes of the last session in the final test against Oz at Perth and see what is possible when they assert themselves upon the opposition instead of reacting

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