LONDON – It may not quite be the occasion they would have envisaged, but nonetheless the Proteas ODI team will bid farewell to two of its stalwarts in their final World Cup match against Australia on Saturday at Old Trafford.
South Africa have, of course, already been eliminated, taking much of the shine off Imran Tahir and JP Duminy’s final ODI. The duo both announced prior to the World Cup that the global tournament would be their swansong in the 50-over format.
They will, however, continue to play T20 franchise cricket - their participation in the Euro T20 Slam along with Dale Steyn was confirmed yesterday - and will also still be available for next year’s World T20 in Australia.
However, their departure will leave the ODI team short of 305 caps worth of experience, with Duminy set to be left stranded on 199. Both have played an essential role in the team’s success, particularly in bilateral series, over the past decade. Tahir, in particular, has transformed spin bowling in SA.
Tahir was an out-an-out strike-bowler. Tahir was worth his weight in gold to every captain he played under.
He will be sorely missed, and even more so for those passionate celebrations that have become his trademark.
Duminy’s contributions, meanwhile, may have petered off in recent years, due in part to shoulder and knee injuries that have stemmed his momentum, but his contribution to the Proteas can never be under-valued.
The 35-year-old was always willing do the “dirty work” for the Proteas. Whether that meant batting out of position to evolve into a “finisher”, when coming in at No 3 or 4 was always his preferred slot, he would always comply without much fuss.
Equally, his value as a white-ball all-rounder was often under-rated, as his presence often balanced the Proteas ODI team.
It would be pleasurable if Tahir and Duminy produced one final memorable performance for SA to at least finish their dismal campaign on a high note. But such is their character that they would have hoped to have left a much bigger impact on the Proteas dressing-room.
“For me, legacy is not in performance,” Duminy said. “It is the person you are. And for me, it’s about being a good person, it’s about influencing people in the right way.
“There is no doubt that I want to put in a big performance for the team, for the public, for the fans who supported us through thick and thin. But for me, legacy lies in when people look back, or think of you and they’ve had the opportunity to interact with you.
I don’t think a hundred is the thing they’ll remember.”@ZaahierAdams