Pakistan v South Africa 2013-14 October 4, 2013

Duminy set to make a Test comeback


JP Duminy is set to regain his Test place after 11 months as South Africa embark on a two-Test series against Pakistan. Duminy spent six months recovering from a ruptured Achilles' tendon and after a successful one-day return, has been given a vote of confidence from the national coach to make a Test comeback as well.

"How we've worked is that when a player has a spot and he gets injured, once he is fit again, he will regain his spot. I think that's only fair," Russell Domingo, South Africa's coach said ahead of the squad's departure. "I very much see JP being in the starting XI."

Duminy had previously spent two years out of the Test team following a loss of form after creating a stir with a 50 and unbeaten 166 against Australia in his first two matches. He returned against New Zealand in March 2012 and scored a century and also played an important role in South Africa's win against England at Lord's last June which gave them the Test mace.

He could play no part in their victory over Australia because of his injury. Faf du Plessis took his spot and impressed with a match-saving century in Adelaide. That would mean the likely loser from Duminy's return would be Dean Elgar, who replaced Jacques Rudolph and, apart from a century against New Zealand, has not made the spot his own.

Following an extensive rehabilitation period, Duminy returned to action during the Champions Trophy in June this year. He scored an unbeaten 150 before the tournament during a warm-up against the Netherlands, had a lean run through the competition but had one innings of 97 in the ODI series in Sri Lanka, which South Africa lost 4-1. He has also become a significant contributor with the ball, sending down 36.2 overs of offspin in the five matches.

Duminy's potential as an allrounder is what South Africa are hoping to use to their advantage in the UAE. "With JP back in the mix, whether we need to play a second spinner still needs to be debated," Domingo said.

Conditions are expected to be conducive to turn - given that was how Pakistan got the better of the last No.1 side to tour the UAE, England - and South Africa have included two specialist spinners in their squad. Robin Peterson is the incumbent but they have also brought back Pakistani-born legspinner Imran Tahir, who played 11 Tests but was dropped after conceding 260 runs without taking a wicket in Adelaide.

Peterson has had some success, most notably with five wickets in a match against Pakistan in Cape Town, but Tahir's attacking ability were thought to create a tough contest between the two for a spot. Domingo confirmed he would allow Peterson to start before turning to Tahir. "At the moment, I still feel Robbie is the guy. He has made some contributions," he said. "You are always going to take two spinners to the subcontinent but Imran has to do something special to knock the door down."

The rest of the line-up will retain its familiar look with Graeme Smith fully recovered from ankle surgery to lead the team and open the batting. Domingo indicated he would continue with the seven batsmen and three seamers strategy that was used under Gary Kirsten. "I would be a fool to go in there and make drastic changes," he said. "There might be one change in terms of personnel but the balance of the side will stay pretty much the same."

That one change would be Duminy's return but Elgar need not despair yet. There is a chance he will feature in the series after all because South Africa may have to do without Hashim Amla for the second Test. The No.3 batsman and his wife, Sumayya, are expecting their second child to be born "some time after the first Test" according to team manager Mohammad Moosajee.

Amla will leave Dubai as soon as the match is done and "depending on when the baby arrives", a decision will be made on his availability for the second match. There is a four-day turnaround between games and if Amla does not make it back in time, Elgar, who has batted in the top-order for most of his career, could assume the spot.

Everyone else in the South African squad is fit. Dale Steyn has recovered from the assortment of injuries that plagued him at the Champions Trophy. Rory Kleinveldt's toe laceration has healed and Wayne Parnell's heart issue has also been sorted out.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 20:42 GMT

    SA has got serious batting line-up its very much what pakistan cricket was like back in 98 with wasim,shoaib,waqar,saeed,inzimam-ul-haq ,younis ,yousuf ....etc its pretty strong batting & bowling line-up what SA has really. However there's one weak point of SA cricket i just hope pakistan team succeed in exploiting that well on pitch then i can see the ray of hope for win god willing. Until then the wait continues to watch Test Series against NO1 Side atm... :)

  • Tim on October 7, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    JP is incredibly talented and has untold potential. The team and selectors have done all they can to give him every chance to succeed..., or to fail. And now it's time for JP to start repaying some of that faith, and I remain sanguine that we will.

  • Shahzad on October 5, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    @pitch_curator for your kind info duminy is the leading run scorer for S.A in SL tour...!!! He is better batsman then Dean Elgar...!!

  • Shahzad on October 5, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    @ Slevin7 yup i agree with you... jp is the batting allrounder... a specialist batsman who can handy wihe the ball as well...

  • Gareth on October 5, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    It's a real pity that he (and the other members of the squad too) could not have played a few Sunfoil Series games before embarking. Unfortunately, our domestic season is being upset by the pointless CLT20 (yawn)

  • Kiran on October 5, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    Duminy has done nothing after coming back. And he looks very suspect against off spinners.

  • Faan on October 5, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    @Shazy777 I like your starting XI. Duminy is firstly a specialist bat though...

  • Dummy4 on October 5, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    All the sons of Peters are international cricketers: Robin, Alviro, Kevin ? Any more? Like the Akmal family?

  • philip on October 5, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    I agree that Domingo should not be having these ruminations in public. It is unfair to the players and unprofessional. I am starting to miss Kirsten even more.

  • James on October 5, 2013, 1:13 GMT

    With Duminy in, SA's batting will be easily the world's best. Amla, Kallis, ABD, and Duminy- constitute the best middleorder. With Duplessis and Smith also , contributing, it is even stronger. I am not sure that Peterson belongs at the top of the order. Even Robin Peterson as a spinner is not convincing- even Tahir for that matter. No harm in testing Phangiso- though he is currently seen more as a limited overs option. Using David Wiese in the middle order in some games would lessen the blow of Kallis's retirement. For the opening slot, I guess Rossouw would be a better option in place of Peterson.

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