Domestic / 7 November 2019, 11:45am / Zaahier Adams
CAPE TOWN – “It is going to be a bit weird playing against a Cape Town team.”
That was JP Duminy’s frank assessment after being unveiled at the Paarl Rocks media briefing yesterday.
Duminy has been associated with everything at Newlands since debuting for Western Province as a teenager all those years ago.
To compound matters, he was an integral part of putting together the Blitz squad last year through contacts made during his time playing in the Pakistan Super League.
But due to missing out on playing for the Blitz through injury in the inaugural MSL last year, and now having retired from international cricket, Duminy was a free agent and the Rocks quickly snapped up South Africa’s highest-ever T20I run-scorer.
And only as Mother Cricket can predict, Duminy will now debut for the Rocks against the Blitz in the much-anticipated Western Cape derby here at Boland Park on Sunday.
Despite it being “a bit weird” as Duminy professed, the Rocks faithful have no need to worry about the all-rounder’s allegiance.
He is fully committed to building something special, along with his good friend and former captain Faf du Plessis, here in the winelands, especially now having stepped off the international treadmill.
“It is great to experience something new. I am looking forward to it.
“For me the most important thing is the group of guys I am joining. Just looking at the Paarl Rocks team, it is good people. That is an important facet. It gets me going to play together and play for a common cause,” Duminy said.
“I suppose I have become accustomed to playing in the franchise system. Playing in Canada, playing in IPL for many years, CPL, PSL, you understand the dynamic.
“You are coming up against good friends, good mates, but the beauty of sport is that you are competitive by nature, so you often want to get one over your mates.
“There is also a great cause here: Playing for the Paarl Rocks, getting into the communities, getting the people behind the team because a place like Paarl has been starved of good quality cricket over the years, so there is a big hunger for the game in Paarl. I am excited to get going.”
Nobody, though, is happier than Du Plessis to have his “lieutenant” beside him again. During all their years together with the national team, the Proteas skipper always had high praise for Duminy’s contributions - particularly off the field and in the dressing room.
“JP adds so much value in different areas,” Du Plessis said.
“For me personally, JP has always been my soundboard for some wisdom. He does offer a lot of that. From a leadership point of view, he works behind the scenes quite a lot.
“He is one of the biggest servants of the game in terms of giving up his time.
“To have South Africa’s most experienced T20 player on the field speaks for itself, but for me what he does behind the scenes adds more value.”