Duminy and Miller can learn from their younger teammates about playing more freely
It’s been a summer of below-par batting performances for the Proteas, the worst of which have occurred in the white ball formats these past few weeks against India.
In the absence of AB de Villiers for the first half of the One-Day International series and Faf du Plessis after game one, the spotlight has fallen on the remaining senior batsmen and, as JP Duminy (pictured) described it on Sunday night, their performances have been well short of what the team has required.
Hashim Amla struggled in the ODI series making just one half-century in six innings, while Duminy and David Miller barely impacted on that series; Duminy scoring 99 runs in five matches, 51 of those coming in the second match in Cape Town, while Miller scored 107 runs, with a highest knock of 39, that came in the fourth ODI, the only one that South Africa won.
For all the concern about new players not immediately making the step up and meeting the demands of international cricket, it is really the fault of players such as Duminy and Miller, that South Africa has found themselves struggling in limited-over matches.
“You are going to go through periods in your career, where you go through slumps, be it a senior player or a new player and unfortunately, throughout the series quite a few senior players have come up short, including myself,” said Duminy.
On the one hand, India deserve credit. They caught South Africa napping by utilising two wrist spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, and their new-ball bowling, particularly the efforts of Jasprit Bumrah, has been better than South Africa’s.
Nevertheless players of Duminy’s and Miller’s ilk should be expected to find a way to be successful at international level. The pair have played a combined 289 ODIs and 132 T20 internationals; including World Cup matches and World T20 games.
“A lot of us are our finding ourselves, unfortunately at the same time, in slumps. And the way India have played, dominating us in this series, a lot of their senior players have stepped up and put in big performances,” Duminy added.
Miller has a very good record at ICC tournaments, particularly in knockout games. However, any batsman, regardless of reputation or even experience, needs to display some semblance of form in-between those big tournaments to justify selection, and based on what Miller’s produced in the last few weeks it could be argued that he is in fact playing himself out of World Cup contention.
Time is of course on his and Duminy’s side. The latter’s performances with the bat recently, are equally as concerning especially as Duminy, having retired from Test match cricket, has thrown all his eggs into the white-ball basket.
While there were questions about desire and commitment following the 28-run defeat to the Indians in the opening T20 on Sunday, to see Duminy on the field, is to witness a player fully engaged and determined.
With the bat, he is just not producing the desired results, which is strange given he was among the form players – and arguably carried the Cape Cobras – during the T20 Challenge.
Duminy said perhaps he and Miller can learn from their younger teammates about playing more freely.
“You have to find a way to get back on your feet and fire again on Wednesday (tomorrow). That’s all you can do at this level, you don’t have many places to hide, you have to front up, understand, that you must put in the big performances,” Duminy said.