Champions League T20

Duminy 'next Ponting'

2009-10-12 13:05
JP Duminy (Gallo)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - JP Duminy is the young batsman “most likely” to usurp Ricky Ponting’s mantle as the world’s master batsman.

And he should also come increasingly into contention for the No 3 spot for South Africa in one-day internationals.

So says former Australia captain Ian Chappell, after perusal of the Proteas left-hander’s earliest showings in the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 event in India.

Duminy is the leading runs-scorer in the tournament after two matches for the unbeaten Cape Cobras, having scored a match-winning, unbeaten 99 off 52 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore and 32 off 25 balls against Otago: his strike rate is a bullet-like 170.12.

Chappell’s fulsome praise for 25-year-old Duminy on is significant, because he does not often bestow such laurels on South African cricket or cricketers - there are some local local wags who suggest he has harboured a near 40-year bitterness over the famous 4-0 Aussie Test series whitewash here in 1969/70 at the hands of Ali Bacher’s immortal side.

And yet he was moved to write on Sunday: “Judging by the cool approach and precise shot-making of Duminy (in the Champions League thus far) … he’s the young batsman most likely to usurp Ponting’s (perceived No 1) title.”

Ponting, who turns 35 in December, has scored 11 345 Test runs at 55.88 and also amassed 12 044 ODI runs at 43.16.

Duminy, some 10 years his junior, averages 48.62 after only six Tests although he recently played his 50th ODI during the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

“While Duminy is yet to add to his MCG Test century, he has shown enough in all three forms of the game to suggest he’s the blueprint for 21st-century batsman,” Chappell, who is commentating for television in India at present, said.

“Despite limited opportunities batting in the middle order in the short versions of the game, he’s made enough runs in tough situations to confirm his talent, technique and temperament are all adaptable.

“Given an extended opportunity to express his talent against (Bangalore) in a hostile environment, he did so in convincing fashion.

“Unlike Ponting and both Tendulkar and Lara, Duminy is slightly suspect against the short-pitched ball. Normally this can lead to a curtailed career, but in Duminy’s case he has been quick to adapt to the demands of international cricket and should quickly eradicate this shortcoming.

“Like the past batting masters, Duminy doesn’t waste time tinkering with frivolous shots and scores most of his limited-overs runs from traditional cricket strokes. In the modern tradition he has the strength to clear the boundary with the bulk of his copybook cricket shots.

“Like Tendulkar, Duminy possesses all the requirements for a Test career at No 4, and eventually he’ll probably emulate Ponting in the shorter versions of the game by batting at three.”

Chappell’s ODI thoughts on Duminy are interesting, especially coming at a time when, for all his magnificent attributes, veteran Jacques Kallis - he will be 34 on Friday - may face some renewed Proteas scrutiny over his suitability to the rapid-scoring demands of batting in the top three for South Africa at limited-overs level, especially when they are facing a stiff chase.

He has started the 2009/10 summer moderately, notching 89 runs at 29.66 in the Proteas’ three-match Champions Trophy flop and being dismissed for eight when opening for the Challengers in their first Champions League T20 match against the Cobras … when Duminy stole the thunder.


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