Cape Town - The Proteas have
turned their focus to the ‘do or die’ third Test match against India starting
in Nagpur on Wednesday. The squad held a lengthy training session at the
45000-seater Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium on Sunday morning as
preparations intensified after more than a week without action.
Proteas all-rounder, JP
Duminy, says the mood in the camp is positive and determined ahead of what is
arguably their most important match of the tour.
“The psyche is quite good in
the change room,” Duminy said to the media after practice. “We know that it’s a
tough challenge for us but we also know that we have the capabilities to
counter those challenges. We have done it before in the past, we have come here
and played well in all formats. There are two more Tests and a long way to go
in the series, it’s important for us to start off well on Wednesday.”
Duminy himself hasn’t had
much game time since his injury in the third ODI in Rajkot, but even after a
month on the side-lines and the short appearance in his comeback Test in
Bengaluru, he feels more prepared than ever to take on the responsibility with
the bat in the middle order and with the ball with his part-time off-spin.
“It doesn’t bother me too
much,” he said of the long breaks. “I missed two months before the T20 series
so sometimes a break can be good for one, just to mentally refresh and to get
away from the game. I’m not too worried about my outings up until now, it’s a
matter of focusing on what lies ahead and preparing accordingly, making sure I
tick the boxes I like to tick when preparing for a match.
“There is always the added
pressure of contributing with the ball,” he admitted. “But I think the pressure
comes from my own expectations of myself because I pride myself on my
performance, I want to make sure I’m contributing whether it’s turning or not.
The conditions don’t make a difference to my expectations of myself. Given the
opportunity I will always want to contribute towards the team.”
Duminy says the batsmen, in
particular, will have to find clarity in their game plans to counter Ravichandran Ashwin
and Ravindra Jadeja, an approach he feels comes down to playing the ball rather
than the man.
“It’s different for
everybody,” he said of the strategy to the Indian spinners. “Everyone has a
different game plan according to which bowler they are going to face. It’s hard
for me to say how each guy is going to play. It’s about sticking to your own
game plan and making sure that you are confident with that plan. That is what
these three days of preparation are about, it’s making sure you are confident
going into the game from a preparation point of view.”