Proteas

Duminy: I'll look at my average when I'm done

2017-01-14 07:00
JP Duminy (Gallo)

Johannesburg - When JP Duminy is in full flight, he looks as good as anybody. 

There are few who would disagree with that statement, but the problem over the years for the 32-year-old lefty has not been ability, but rather translating that ability into runs on the Test stage. 

His average was 32.62 when he walked to the wicket on day one of the third Test against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers.

What followed was an innings of the highest order.

Duminy's 155 looks even more impressive now given that 11 wickets fell on the second day on a strip that is proving increasingly difficult for batsmen to deal with.  

That knock moves his career average up to 34.7. Better, but still not a return that a player of his quality should be satisfied with. 

He puts that average down to inconsistency in his first 30 Tests and being moved around the order for large periods of his Test career. 

These days, however, he is being backed with a position largely considered to be the most important in a Test top order - No 4. 

He has batted there on 15 occasions now for South Africa, scoring 695 runs at an average of 49.6.

"It comes down to opportunity," Duminy said from the Wanderers on Friday.

"I’ve always regarded myself as a top order batter. I batted No 4 for the Cobras for many years.

"I remember getting an opportunity in Wellington when Jacques Kallis got injured and I did pretty well there.

"There is obviously added responsibility there but more time to bat and that means you have opportunities to score big runs."

The "opportunity" in Wellington Duminy was referring to came back in 2012 when he carded scores of 103 and 33* in a match that was drawn.

Duminy is playing with a freedom that he says comes from his family being his number one priority, and that much can be seen in his approach to batting at the moment. 

He doesn't wait until he feels in. Instead, if the ball is there to drive, or pull or cut, he backs himself. 

The result is that if he spends a significant amount of time at the wicket, the game can get away from the opposition quickly ... as was the case for the Sri Lankans on Thursday. 

"Throughout this whole season my attitude has been to be as positive as possible in my body language, approach and mind-set to the game," Duminy said.

"Fortunately over the last couple of months it’s been pretty successful for me. I always try and score as best as I can and try not just survive, especially on a wicket like this where a lot of balls will beat the bat.

"I worked with Neil McKenzie in the off-season for a bit and we worked out some technical things that we wanted to change, but the main thing for me was the mind-set." 

He turns 33 in April, but is in good shape and has a good few years left in the tank. 

Hopefully, by the time he is done, that average is closer to or higher than 40 and reflective of a player who has promised so much for so long. 

"My approach from the beginning of the season has been to look at what my average will look like at the end of my career," he said.

"That has been my main focus.

"Here is an opportunity to try and solidify a spot at No 4. I’m trying to not focus too much on the past. I’m trying to see what I end up on from six months ago to the end."

Read more on:    proteas  |  jp duminy  |  johannesburg  |  cricket
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