fast little loans
JP Duminy would be loath to openly admit it, but his two-year spell out of the South African Test side genuinely affected his self-confidence.
After all Duminy was the Proteas’ golden boy just 12 months earlier. He was the “superstar” of South African cricket, the Rainbow Nation’s very own little David who slayed the mighty Australians in the most intimidating of all coliseums, the MCG.
But Test cricket has not stood the test of time because it is easy. In fact, it is a gruelling examination of technique, patience and character, where mental strength is equally important to ability.
There are not many who have played this wonderful game and dominated it from the outset and continued to do so for a lasting time. Duminy certainly found out soon enough he was not one of those select few.
England’s pace bowlers exposed his fallibilities against the short-pitched ball before India slowed it up through Harbhajan Singh to have Duminy in a spin.
He was now tentative in dealing with short ball, which meant he was leaning on his back foot, which affected his normally assured footwork against the spinners. He also often played down the wrong line against Harbhajan’s off-spinners, trying to work the ball through the leg side an in turn over balancing.
It was not surprising that four successive scores of below 10 followed and as a result was dropped from the Test side.
In fact, it was not even a shock to Duminy when he was axed in back in February 2010.
“I knew with the form I had at the time I was always going to be left out. It was just about building confidence again and putting runs on the board for the team,” Duminy said yesterday upon his return to the Test side for the third Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve.
It seems an eerie coincidence that Duminy is back in the Test side due to an injury after his debut in Perth back in 2009 came as a result of Ashwell Prince’s broken thumb.
On this occasion it was Jacques Kallis’ back, but just like at the WACA against the Aussies on debut, Duminy has more than just filled a hole, but instead excelled.
After two rain-truncated days here, Duminy was 76 not out and playing with the confidence lacking during that lean previous period.
It showed in the initial stages of his innings when he attacked the Kiwi fast bowlers, and more importantly was intent to face the challenge of the short ball head on by either committing to an aggressive shot or simply letting it to pass through to wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk.
“I’ve played one-day cricket before this so that’s the cause of it. With the nerves kicking in, you want to get bat on ball, but once I got into it I settled down a bit and played my natural game,” he said.
“I have done a lot of work behind the scenes, so I’m fairly comfortable with the short stuff at the moment.
“I’ve worked Shukri Conrad back home and Richard Pybus (former Cape Cobras coaches). And with Gary (Kirsten) and Corrie (van Zyl).
There have been a few guys that have helped me. Hopefully I can build on it.”
The second day at the Basin may have been frustrating in terms of the weather – play only started again at 2pm and finished exactly at 5:23pm like the first day – and only allowed for 37 overs to be bowled, it certainly was a day for South Africa’s batsmen to rebuild their confidence.
Opener Alviro Petersen scored a century in the last home Test before the tour to New Zealand, but there have again been whispers, albeit unfairly, questioning his long-term presence alongside Graeme Smith at the top of the order.
He has not only silenced these doubters in emphatic fashion over the last two days, with an innings of great resolve in demanding weather conditions.
He also ensured along with Duminy during their lengthy partnership that South Africa already have one hand on the series win.