Selector: JP’s bowling ‘bonus only’

2015-11-12 18:54
JP Duminy (Gallo Images)

Cape Town – Avoid burdening JP Duminy too much with an all-rounder’s label in Test matches, as it may be harmful to his batting.

That is the view of national selector and former Proteas star Ashwell Prince, a predecessor of Duminy’s as a left-handed middle-order batsman.

In saying so, he may also have been hinting that South Africa will stick with two specialist spinners – Imran Tahir and Simon Harmer – for the second Test against India at Bangalore from Saturday, with both Duminy and co-batsman Dean Elgar then serving up much more “part-time” fare.

Speaking on SuperSport’s Inside Edge chat show, Prince concurred with the widely-held view that the Proteas probably went in one batsman short (while Duminy was still injured) for the first Test at Mohali, surrendered by 108 runs.

“Yes, we probably were a batsman light as it turned out ... it would have been nice to have had an extra bat, especially one of the class of JP.

“If the conditions are at least reasonably similar (at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium) we need to consider whether we maybe had a fast bowler too many in the first Test.

“I’m going to take off my selector’s hat for a minute and speak as a fan of JP the batsman: I would like him, if he comes back into the team, to play as a batsman, a world-class batsman, and the onus, the responsibility of his off-spin needs to come off his shoulders.

“It must be seen as a bonus, as with Dean Elgar’s left-arm spin.

“JP is a batsman and I would like to see him doing more of what he did in his first series in Australia (the historic, victorious 2008/09 one) ... that’s what he is capable of.”

Prince believes the 31-year-old’s effectiveness with the blade has been compromised by bowling distractions.

“In recent times a lot of responsibility has been placed on his bowling; I feel his batting has suffered.”

If Prince’s views back home have any influence on the on-tour management group and pitch conditions also fall in line, the Proteas may go into the Bangalore Test with a line-up looking something like this: Stiaan van Zyl, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla (capt), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Dane Vilas, Simon Harmer, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn (or Morne Morkel; whichever of the established pacemen is considered fitter after respective injuries), Imran Tahir.

There has been some speculation that off-spinner Harmer – despite a sprightly enough showing in the first Test -- may be sacrificed to make way for an additional seamer, although South Africa’s options in that department have now been reduced a bit by the tour-ending training mishap to Vernon Philander.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  jp duminy  |  ashwell prince  |  cricket

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