JP Duminy made his ODI entrance back in 2004, but it was only during the series with Australia in 2008-09, that his massive prospects with the bat came to the forefront. The South Africans lost that Australian series 4-1, a thrashing by their quality and will be glad not to have to rely so heavily upon the unsteady joint offerings of Behardien and AB De Villiers. That turned out to be a bigger liability than they were prepared to admit when De Villiers confidently labelled his side as the team to beat at the Cup.
JP Duminy is the unsung hero of SA
In the absence of Duminy, the Proteas not only lack bowling options and someone who can contain (rarely does he give away more than five per over) but also an expert number six to finish a well-made batting line up during rare instances on which De Villiers and Amla go missing. He got his big break as he was given a chance for both the ODI and Test series down under.
He continued to oppress Australia, scoring heavily in ODIs and T20s, after the leap forward Test performances. He came out of the tour as one of the bigwigs of the game, and the timing of the tour suited him very well, as he was snapped up for a whopping 6cr rupees by Mumbai Indians during the auction for the second stint of the IPL.
Several factors worked in his favour
While most of the best players had been bought at the previous auction, he was a transpiring talent, and he just had a fabulous international season. The left-handed batsman, who comes in helpful with the ball as well, is also possibly one of the best fielders in the current generation. He had shown great promise in the warm-up game against India A in Delhi.
He played a near identical knock against the second string blues side at the Palam stadium. Duminy, who is quite well suited for Indian conditions, due to his stay in the Indian Premier League (IPL), smashed two fours and six sixes during his 32-ball innings of 68 not out, although the bowling division would once again get upset as the home team won by eight wickets.
He was the leading run-getter for the Proteas in the ICC WT20 2014 with 187 runs, which included an unbeaten 86 runs against New Zealand which came from just 43 balls. He played six matches in the Cricket World Cup 2015, going on to take the first World Cup hat-trick for the Proteas against the Lankans in the quarter-final. On his Test debut, he helped guide the South African team to a wonderful run chase of 414 with an unbeaten 50.
It’s a little hard to be well known in a batting line-up containing AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla, but J.P. Duminy has never been one for thriftless displays. With 134 ODIs under his belt, Duminy is near to under-appreciated than unsung, but there was no greater calculation of his calming impact with bat and ball in the 50-over game than South Africa’s struggles without him against Australia.
That was due to a knee injury from which he has now retrieved and the Proteas will be quietly relieved that such an essential piece of their enigma is back in place. The burden, of course, is on Duminy to make the most of this newly accomplished form to stick one of the lower order places for himself not only in the on-going series but during the rest of his career as well. It could perhaps be a major motivation for him to overcome his unsung tag, which he has been carrying with him for so long now.