Du­miny: Play­ing to Make an Im­pact

The Economic Times - - Sports - SHASHANK KISHORE

From a smash­ing Test de­but in 2008 to be­ing rel­e­gated to the side­lines for two years and then re­turn­ing to suf­fer a se­ri­ous in­jury, Du­miny’s in­ter­na­tional ca­reer has been dra­matic. How­ever, his de­ter­mi­na­tion have been re­mark­able through all of it.

“I got a taste of in­ter­na­tional cricket in 2004 and then got left out for three-four years. I guess, at that time, I got an un­der­stand­ing of what is needed to play at that level,” says Du­miny to Wis­den In­dia. “It was then that I re­alised I needed to re­form my game.” Cur­rently part of Delhi Dare­dev­ils, Du­miny has been the high­light of an other­wise or­di­nary cam­paign. “What makes the tour­na­ment a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence is the fact that you mix with dif­fer­ent in­di­vid­u­als, dif­fer­ent cul­tures, so you learn a lot. Things may have not gone well for us, but I’m hope­ful we can rec­tify our mis­takes.” “You need to be an all-round player these days,” he continues. “You can’t go out and de­cide you will only slog, or you will only play in a cer­tain way. You need to adapt quickly. You have to in­no­vate, be­cause the game evolves at a fast pace and you have to keep up with it … you can’t play catch up.” What is sur­pris­ing though is the fact that de­spite be­ing in the mix for close to a decade, he has man­aged to play just 24 Tests. For some­one of his talent and abil­ity, there is a sense that he may have un­der­achieved. But that isn’t how Du­miny re­flects on how things have panned out. For him, the chances he had out­num­ber the ones he didn’t. One such op­por­tu­nity, came in 2008 dur­ing South Africa’s tour of Aus­tralia. An in­jury to Ashwell Prince paved the way for Du­miny’s de­but at Perth. His first out­ing was far from mem­o­rable as he made just one. For three days, South Africa were un­der the cosh. Af­ter con­ced­ing a 94-run lead, they were set a tar­get of 414 to win the Test. Du­miny made an un­beaten 50 and South Africa scripted the sec­ond high­est suc­cess­ful run-chase in Tests.

In his sec­ond test, on Box­ing Day, Du­miny made 166. South Africa were tot­ter­ing at 184 for 7 in re­ply to Aus­tralia’s 394. His 180run stand for the ninth wicket with Dale Steyn put them ahead and set the tone for a his­toric se­ries win.

“Even to­day, people ask me if I rate the 166 (as his best), but I al­ways tell them the 50 I scored in the sec­ond in­nings on de­but was def­i­nitely a notch higher be­cause if not for that knock, the sec­ond one may have not come,” he says. That se­ries cat­a­pulted Du­miny into star­dom. And he rode a wave of suc­cess be­fore a string of poor per­for­mances re­sulted in his axe in Fe­bru­ary 2012. The road back to the top was ar­du­ous, but Du­miny didn’t lose hope. “In hind­sight, I think I lacked the adapt­abil­ity fac­tor and needed to work on a lot of ar­eas of my batting and fit­ness to be able to be­come a bet­ter player,” he points out. Du­miny made his come­back dur­ing the tour of New Zealand in March 2012, and was sub­se­quently picked for the Eng­land tour in June that year. But, just then, Du­miny was dealt a big blow. He rup­tured his Achilles ten­don dur­ing the tour of Aus­tralia. “There are times when you be­gin to think if you will ever play again, par­tic­u­larly if it is a se­ri­ous in­jury. What if some­one who re­places you does well?” says Du­miny. “So, at that time, I de­cided to have a pos­i­tive out­look and not worry about all these things.” With in­juries and the up-and-down per­for­mances firmly be­hind him, Du­miny is now en­joy­ing a phenom­e­nal run. At 30, he would be cen­tral to South Africa’s plans post the Graeme Smith era.

JP Du­miny has been the Delhi Dare­devil's best player this sea­son

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