Ugly duck­ling Du­miny gets stumped

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

MEL­BOURNE in 2008 seems so far away from JP Du­miny right now, it may just as well have been some­one else’s life.

Eight and a half years since that epic in­nings of 166, which helped turn around a Test and set up an his­toric se­ries win, Du­miny’s Test ca­reer ap­pears to be over. It has been a wholly un­ful­filled one. He’s not matched his prodi­gious tal­ent with con­sis­tent productivity. At Lord’s in the first Test against Eng­land he looked lost.

He scratched his way through a 14-minute stay at the crease in the se­cond in­nings that brought him two runs and then slapped a ‘buf­fet ball’ from Mark Wood to square leg. He stood be­mused in the mid­dle of the pitch star­ing at his bat, per­haps think­ing it won’t be used in a Test match again.

There’s lit­tle jus­ti­fi­ca­tion in pick­ing Du­miny for the Trent Bridge Test. For his own well be­ing, he has to sit out that match. He is a man cur­rently with no con­fi­dence in his abil­ity and the op­po­si­tion know it.

Nat­u­rally, his team­mates are des­per­ate for him to get it right. Skip­per Faf du Plessis, who is also a very close friend, knows he must leave sen­ti­ment aside when the de­ci­sion about Du­miny be­ing axed is made. Du Plessis re­marked that Du­miny, at 33 with 294 in­ter­na­tional matches to his name – which in­cludes 46 Tests – knows he can’t con­tinue to hold down a start­ing spot.

“He will be the first guy to know that he needs to score runs for the team,” said Du Plessis. “He is des­per­ate to do well. But he knows that at the end of the day, it’s about runs and he un­der­stands that if it comes to a po­si­tion where some­one else needs to be looked at, he’ll be the first to ac­knowl­edge that. He is a cru­cial part of our se­nior player group and he’ll put the team in­ter­ests above him­self.”

Du Plessis has to slot back into the mid­dle or­der for the se­cond Test, which means ei­ther Du­miny or The­u­nis de Bruyn must sit out. It’s very hard to jus­tify pick­ing Du­miny af­ter the lat­ter showed good fight­ing qual­i­ties in the first in­nings at Lord’s when he scored 48.

It was only De Bruyn’s se­cond Test and while a solid con­tri­bu­tion, it was nowhere near the standard nor had the im­pact of Du­miny’s per­for­mance in his se­cond Test. Du­miny set the bar very high for him­self with that in­nings at the MCG eight years ago. He’s only fleet­ingly matched that level since – and the time has come for the Proteas to look for some­one else. –

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