World T20 2016 March 15, 2016

Duminy confident despite 'really average season'

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JP Duminy expects to play a key role with the ball in the World T20 © Getty Images

All the dress rehearsals are over. South Africa have prepared at home and away, they have played at home and away, they have won at home and away. For good measure, they even lost at home, to Australia, and all of that will stand South Africa in good stead for the four matches they will play from Friday as they aim for a semi-final berth.

Their World T20 group stage starts against England, an opposition they recently beat 2-0, but the real test will only come two weeks from now if they reach the knockouts. That's when the fruits of all the training and playing and winning (and losing) will show. This time South Africa have a different plan and it's nothing fancy at all.

"When you are under pressure and your heart rate is 180, it's hard to keep your thinking clear and that's why we've spoken about doing the basics well," JP Duminy explained. "If you focus on something that easy, it gives you a good chance of putting in a big performance in that situation."

South Africa learnt that from their most recent defeats, not the string of wins that saw them chase successfully for five matches on the trot. It was only when they fumbled in the field and sent down extras at the death against Australia, that the basics came into sharper focus and they have promised not to lose sight of them.

For Duminy, that message has wider implications. There have been suggestions that South Africa's highest run-scorer in T20 cricket is in the squad on reputation because his recent performances have been far from promising. He has not crossed fifty in 21 international innings since the team's last visit to India, last October, but that is a statistic he is determined to put right.

"I will be lying if I say it hasn't been a really average season for me," Duminy admitted. "But I enjoy these events and I feel very refreshed at a world event like this."

Already, Duminy has been back in the runs with 67 in the warm-up match against India and even though he only managed 22 in the second match - where he played for Mumbai Cricket Association XI against his own side - he knows he won't have to face the bowler who removed him, Kyle Abbott, in the tournament.

He will, however, have to bowl despite a summer where his role as an allrounder was scaled down in order for him to focus on his batting. In the subcontinent, South Africa are still likely to field only one specialist spinner - Imran Tahir - and will want a second slower-bowling option. Duminy wants to embrace the chance to contribute in another way. "I know that's going to bring a lot of opportunities for me, especially in these conditions. Hopefully when given that opportunity I can make it count," he said.

Ultimately, the word opportunity is what South Africa have on repeat as they go into this tournament. They're not viewing it as an examination of whether they can finally win a global trophy but as an opportunity to try and see if they can.

"We've taken massive strides in these events. In the past, we've buckled under the pressure. If we look back to the last T20 and 50-over World Cup where we reached the semi-finals, we were outplayed," Duminy said. "It's when we haven't given our best that we've let ourselves down. Quietly confident is the phrase that's going around, especially in the shorter format. We are looking forward to this tournament."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • punisher601 on March 17, 2016, 13:05 GMT

    Oh my word, Duminy coming in to bowl. Batters will be licking their lips at this prospect. Forget the record, he has lost it. Please... dont let him near the ball. He Can't play off-spin either. Oh for the return of Botha...

  • iBhubesi on March 17, 2016, 11:56 GMT

    @Ellagingio... That was a special innings… Played in 2008. It was also Duminy's second test match so he was something of an unknown quantity at the time… By the time the return series was played in SA he had been found out against the short ball and quality off spin. Those short-comings have hounded him ever since.

    When Kirsten was found out against the ball coming back into him from the right arm seamer bowling round the wicket; he went away and found a way to counter the bowlers' strategy… When Graeme Smith got found out by the full inswinger and outswinger; he found a way to counter that… Both Kirsten and Smith's record speaks for themselves…. What has JP done to overcome his short comings?... that's what I am referring to. The guy is talented but he has no mental fortitude. It's a harsh assessment I know but I think it is justified.

  • ProteaFan1998 on March 17, 2016, 8:55 GMT

    Guys,his form improved just as he landed on india(warm up matches).He has a good record in IPL(both batting

  • EllaGingio on March 17, 2016, 2:46 GMT

    @SUPA_SAFFA - waiting for that one "special innings" - you didn't watch SA in Aus 2008 then? I suggest you go and watch the first two tests of that series, look at his contributions and bear in mind no team had ever won a test series in Aus since about 1992. I'd also recommend all those that keep saying he he's mentally weak do the same

  • Bazza_SAF on March 16, 2016, 12:47 GMT

    "Really average season".... He doesnt set his sights high, does he if he thinks that was average! Should have been dropped from all forms of the game and sent back to the ranks to regain his confidence again. Cricket is a game based on confidence and Duminy lacks that at moment. Hes even dropping simple catches.

  • iBhubesi on March 16, 2016, 12:21 GMT

    All the talent but no heart or aptitude for a fight…. I regard him as being more talented than Gary Kirsten and even Graeme Smith… Problem with JP in my opinion is his lack of mental fortitude. I agree with the sentiments expressed here that he has under-achieved.

  • Supa_SAFFA on March 16, 2016, 11:30 GMT

    It would take nothing less than a World Cup win to justify the tag of "Superstar." Hopefully when we look back we shall say that Duminy has spent years to prepare for that single innings that will define his career, shed SA cricket of the chokers tag, edify this generation of SA cricket, and even unite and alter the destiny of a divided nation, inspiring a Hollywood sports movie starring Michael B Jordan in the role of JP. No pressure there.

  • Nick636 on March 16, 2016, 11:22 GMT

    @ stormer1980

    Sadly, I agree with you. They keep saying Duminy is there on reputation alone, but DALE (whom I am a MASSIVE Fan of), is sadly not his former self in either of the shorter formats of the game. He is also coming off a long string of injuries and had VERY little game time. Phangiso should get game time. Why didn't they take Harmer??? He got a few GREAT starting tests and then never seen again... Makes no sense

  • Nick636 on March 16, 2016, 11:13 GMT

    @ Samtwo

    To an extent I agree. But I do feel, in the early parts of his carreer, the board of selectors made the same mistake they made with de Kock. Duminy, like de Kock, started with a bang, then went through a rather rough patch. But, instead of allowing him some time time to play through it, he was dropped from the test side (as de Kock was, repeatedly, from the ODI side) for almost two years (if I remember correctly. Then he only played ODI's and T20's for AGES, being turned into almost a Lance Klusener style slogger. Since then, his game has never really recoverred. It's sad, because I feel he WAS a great in the making.

    This country tends to do that though. Certain players are never allowed to be batsmen. They are seen as FINISHERS / SLOGGERS / Call them what you will. And ridiculed when they fail to hit every second ball for six. David Miller.. Justin Kemp.. Albie Morkel (Who had the makings of a GREAT allrounder in my eyes).

    It's sad.

  • stormer1980 on March 16, 2016, 9:23 GMT

    New Zealand showed what a simple brains trust can do for a team ... Playing on pitches that offers spin , they dropped there 3 best seam bowlers and packed there team with spinners ... Not SA , we take Dale , Rabada , Abbot and Morrise . Dale could've stayed at home for another spinner in my opinion .

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