A fierce striker of the ball, South Africa’s Jean Paul Duminy debuted in 2004, when former cricket legends such as Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting to name a few, were hogging the limelight. During that phase, although the Proteas’lower middle order had names like Mark Boucher, Lance Klusner and Shaun Pollock, a fresh talent, as good as Duminy, was always welcomed.
The team rallied around a new arrival
South Africa have, since then, warmly embraced certain changes in the nature of the sport. One finds inclusion of talents from multiple cultural orientations in players such as Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada and Ngidi Lungi. Besides that, the Proteas also celebrates the Pink Day (to raise awareness of breast cancer) by donning a pink outfit.
And there’s also a continuation of the famous Proteas fire spirit wherever South Africa contests, regardless of the opposition or format they play.
When JP arrived on the scene, the T20 format did not exist. Currently, the T20s have become the dominant factor of the sport. Duminy has stuck around for nearly over 14 years. That in itself, is a great amount of time considering several celebrated players from that era such as Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Saeed Ajmal, Michael Clarke and Brendon McCullum have walked into the sunset.
But a trouble, hitherto less addressed, lingers on
In continuing to be around the international circuit for nearly more than a decade, the stats reflected in JP Duminy’s careerdon’t exactly inspire confidence. He is yet to reach 5000-run mark in ODIs (4767) and finished his Test career with 2103 runs. His collective appearances, where both ODIs and Tests are clubbed, stand at 230.
But one is stunned at the realisation that the statistics lie low with a lowly average in mid-30’s especially after promising to be a player who could accumulate and amass runs at free will.
Traditionally one of the most balanced sides in international cricket, South Africa, has been dependent on the skill of its attacking batsmen, besides also on the quartet of fierce seam bowlers. They would have liked to get more contributions from Duminy over the years, who offered both- batting and bowling. The ability to bat wisely under any playing conditions, besides getting vital breakthroughs with the ball when most needed is rare in world cricket.
Has Duminy really lived up to his potential?
Duminy ended his Test career with an average of 32.85 in Tests, and has mustered 36.95 in ODIs and that looks on the lower side when paying an ode to his caliber.
Having played under the captaincy of Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and current skipper Faf du Plessis, Duminy cannot complain of not being given his fair share of chances. But the leopard like reflexes and swan like agility in the field that excited fans all over hasn’t quite reflected mightily where his scoring sheets stand.
When you consider the period between 2004 to 2006, South Africa figured a makeshift spot for the freely striking left hander; that of number 6. The first couple of years, for any world-class talent, remains the most challenging.
So he couldn’t be hammered for any complacency
But in the last decade, Duminy has been anointed with a number four and number five spot depending on the situation. And although the shift in the batting order has yielded nearly 70 per cent of his Test and ODI scoring, one finds a Marlon Samuels-like fruitlessness in Duminy’s stats. He seems only better than a Nathan McCullum or Jos Buttler where contemporary cricket stands.
Scuttling only 107 wickets across both formats, has the flight in Duminy’s slow off-breaks really caught the attention of cricket’s timeless passengers and travellers who’ll go the extra mile to catch live action? Or has the number of revolutions in Duminy’s off-breaks failed to revolutionise South Africa to reach the ultimate level of their awe-inspiring talent? It is anybody’s call.
It is only when you examine his T20 performances that the strike rate of 123.90, drives home some point, in addition to having struck 1700 runs from 67 innings. Still there’s not a single hundred that’s been scored when several players like Chris Gayle, Colin Munro and newbies like Evin Lewis have done it on more than one occasion. Even Duminy’s South African colleagues such as AB, Faf and David Miller have registered three figures! However, there is still hope as the board believes in him.
Apart from his own batting, he needs to guide his team in upcoming T20I series against India. Being a senior member of the side, the southpaw will be key in order to push the team in absence of regular skipper Du Plessis.
Duminy’s ODI batting average at different positions
|ODIs Batting position||Runs||Innings||Average|
Duminy versus noted ODI players at no. 4, his key batting order
|Misbah Ul Haq||1945||51||83*||47|
Inference: Would you award the same status to Duminy in the sport as Misbah and Mahela?
Duminy versus noted ODI players at no. 5, another key batting position
|Misbah Ul Haq||2338||66||96*||47|
The stats, most of the time, reflects the truth. He needs to do more to justify his talent.