That is a trivia question that will stump most Proteas fans. AB de Villiers? Faf du Plessis? Maybe even Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs or Graeme Smith? None of the above. The answer is, of course, JP Duminy, who walked away from all forms of international cricket on Saturday. Although it was public knowledge that Duminy was retiring from ODI cricket after the World Cup, it was expected that the all-rounder would look to play at next year’s World T20 in Australia. That is no longer part of the script with the final chapter read out at Old Trafford.
“It has been really enjoyable representing South Africa for 199 games in one-day cricket,” Duminy said. “Not exactly sure how many in T20s, but 46 Test matches too. Many lows in those games. Some dark times when I thought maybe it was the end of my entire career. But somehow, particularly in sport, you find a way to get through it. That’s also by the help of the support of the fans backing you through the challenging times. Definitely thankful for everyone’s support. Not only for myself, but for the team throughout my career.”
There certainly were “dark times” particularly over the last few years with Duminy being hampered by career-threatening shoulder and ankle injuries. But even as his form dipped towards the latter stages, he remained an influential part of the Proteas team, especially for captain Faf du Plessis.
“JP has been the father figure of the team for a long time now, he’s been my soundboard in the team, he’s a very wise man,” Du Plessis said of Duminy. “So it’s always nice for me to have him around to talk to him about how I’m feeling, what’s the team’s feeling. He’s the guy that has the conversations with guys in the team just how they are feeling, how they are going, so he is the father figure in the side.