The Cricket World Cup starts in three months, and if you still want to make the Proteas team, you’d better get a move on.
And that is the scenario facing JP Duminy at the moment. The classy left-hander has been sidelined by a shoulder injury that has kept him off the field for most of the South African season.
He needed an operation that saw him miss the Australian limited-overs tour Down Under last October, the Mzansi Super League, the Pakistan Super League and the ODI series against Pakistan.
Duminy will also sit out the first three ODIs against Sri Lanka, which starts on Sunday at the Wanderers – although he has been included in the squad for the last two games in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town on March 13 and 16.
So, he has about two weeks to find his touch for the Cape Cobras, and that process will start on Friday at Newlands, when he lines up against the Titans in the One-Day Cup.
The Cobras captain has in fact been batting in the nets for a while, but coach Ashwell Prince has had to keep him back as the 34-year-old wasn’t ready to bowl.
“Duminy’s batting is looking as strong as ever, but he feels uncertain about his bowling and his fielding. He prides himself in his throwing arm and his ability to throw himself around in the field,” Prince said recently.
“He wants to make sure he can field as good as ever, and bowl.”
Duminy will look to make an immediate impression, as the competition is fierce for a spot in the Proteas batting line-up.
Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen appear to be the settled top five, so Duminy’s best bet may be to challenge David Miller for the No 6 berth, or be an extra all-rounder at No 7.
Talking about Amla, he will also be back in Cobras colours on Friday as the Proteas selectors have given him a breather from the Sri Lanka ODIs to have a look at other options.
NEWS| @WorldSportsBet Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince is upbeat about the return of international players @amlahash and skipper JP @jpduminy21 for the hosts’ next MODC clash against the Multiply @Titans_Cricket at @NewlandsCricket on Friday.— COBRAS CRICKET (@CobrasCricket) February 28, 2019
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“I am excited about Amla batting at the top of the order and JP in the middle, and the fact that they are batting around our younger batsmen will add a lot for them,” Prince said in a statement on Thursday.
Among those younger batsmen in form at Proteas Test cap Zubayr Hamza, who scored an unbeaten 88 to take the Cobras to victory against the Lions in Oudtshoorn last Sunday, and wicket-keeper Kyle Verreynne, who has been in outstanding touch with the bat.
Squads For Newlands
Cape Cobras: JP Duminy (captain), Hashim Amla, David Bedingham, Tladi Bokako, Zubayr Hamza, Rory Kleinveldt, George Linde, Janneman Malan, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Akhona Mnyaka, Dane Paterson, Dane Piedt, Kyle Verreynne.
Titans: Farhaan Behardien, Gregory Mahlokwana, Imraan Manack, Junior Dala, Theunis de Bruyn, Tony de Zorzi, Heinrich Klaasen (captain), Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Aiden Markram, Tshepo Moreki, Chris Morris, Jonathan Vandiar.@ashfakmohamed