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Physiotherapists are a very particular bunch. Some would even suggest they are overly sensitive. At least that is what I have encountered in my experience on reporting on various injuries related to sports people over the years.
They are always wary about being “quoted out of context” and insist on sharing medical terms that would make for perfect Scrabble triple letter scores. I do share good relationships though with both Proteas physio Brandon Jackson and his national predecessor Shane Jabaar down here at the Cape Cobras.
Jackson doesn’t mind pulling me aside if I get “something wrong”, as he did during last month’s Test against Pakistan at Newlands. “Jacko” suggested I was being a little naughty to claim JP Duminy was “jogging” instead of “walking” during his rehabilitation process relating to his Achilles injury.
I admitted my error, saying I might have mistaken Duminy’s brisk walk around the Newlands outfield for a jog. It all ended well, with Jackson explaining Duminy’s intricate recovery process to me, especially in the light of former Springbok flank Juan Smith’s recent retirement due to an Achilles problem.
However, when push came to shove, Jackson would still not commit to an exact date when Duminy would be back out in the middle hitting those glorious cover drives. And that was what I was really after because the Proteas limited-overs teams desperately require the services of the Cobras all-rounder.
The experience of South Africa’s Test batting and bowling units has offset Duminy’s unavailability since that fateful night of the first day of the first Test against Australia in Brisbane when all he felt was “snap”!
The ODI and T20 teams, though, have desperately cried out for Duminy’s services over the course of the summer. With all the experimentation happening during the one-day series against New Zealand and captain AB de Villiers’s absence through suspension, the Proteas middle-order was a shambles.
Duminy is one of the world’s best in turning a promising total into a substantial one through clever judgement of singles and twos, while also possessing the power game to clear the boundary at will. He has played over 100 ODIs already since his ill-fated debut when he was used out of position in Sri Lanka in 2004.
I purposely used the term “all-rounder” too for Duminy because his off-spinners are an integral part of South Africa’s one-day bowling unit, with him often having the “golden arm” effect when an opposing partnership threatens.
And then we have the chaotic environment of the Proteas T20 side at present, where everybody doesn’t quite know where they fit in or how they should approach their games at present. Captain Faf du Plessis made a valid point after the Centurion horror show last Sunday when he stressed that only more T20 gametime will allow his young players to enhance their skill levels.
Du Plessis knows the truncated international T20 programme does not allow for such luxuries, so it has to be developed at places such as the Indian Premier League and Champions League T20.
Duminy is a T20 veteran, having played in both those leagues for the past few years and has consistently been one of the few South African shining lights at the World T20 jamborees held every two years. Some may have already forgotten that Duminy was South Africa’s original IPL money-man when he was bought by the Mumbai Indians for $900 000 in 2009.
Duminy will miss IPL VI this season because of his ongoing recovery process and the upcoming Pakistan ODI series with the Proteas.
Perhaps fringe players like Farhaan Behardien and Davey Miller can produce some encouraging performances to validate their inclusion, but the quicker JP Duminy is back in the green pyjamas, the better it will be for South African cricket.
And hopefully that moment arrives before the all-important ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales in June.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
@warne888 (Shane Warne): Lastly on selection & for the people in charge of picking squads/teams,2 things you need to look for Players with ticker & r up for a fight.
@warne888: 2 - No more bits and pieces players to be selected but specialists in all cricket deptartments !!! Simple.......
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@bhogleharsha (Harsha Bhogle): The Indian commentator has some insightful thoughts on the current India v Australia series.
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