If ever there was vindication for Proteas’ coach Mickey Arthur’s succession planning, it came in the form of the brilliant debut performance by the 24-year-old JP Duminy in the famous first Test victory at the WACA at the weekend.
Sport 24 reports that it wasn’t something that happened by coincidence. Duminy revealed on Monday morning as the impact of his match-winning partnership with his colleague from junior days, AB de Villiers, started to sink in that being part of the Proteas Castle Test squad for a period of time had played an important part in settling his inevitable nerves.
“It’s still sinking in…..such a phenomenal victory. It is something that I will savour for the rest of my life,” he said.
“It is unbelievable to come here for the first time with the Test side and pull off a victory in our first Test match. I am lost for words to say how I am feeling at the moment. I’ve lived through all those days of getting so close to beating the Aussies and not quite getting there. The World Cup in ’99 was a bit painful. I think I watched every ball of it (as a 15-year-old). Ending in a run out was particularly disappointing.
“I didn’t want to portray a nervous and uncomfortable feeling out there. I was feeling the pressure but my main objective was to soak up the pressure and take it ball by ball. AB and I spoke a lot together and that also helped and it all paid off in the end. AB and I have been playing with or against each other since the age of 15 and we have good communication together as well as a good friendship. We were determined to enjoy the moment on the field.
“I have travelled with the team for a number of tours now and that helped to get me well prepared. I have seen all the feelings of winning and losing and it was great to be part of a great victory like this and to be part of it at the end.
“Hopefully we can take this momentum into the next Test and pull off another win.”
Part of Arthur’s strategy has been to ensure that Duminy would make a comfortable entry into Test cricket but that he also understands why he has had to wait patiently for his debut and may have to wait again for his next selection.
“Ashwell is always going to the number one player in that spot,” Duminy said, “so the minute that he becomes available again and is fit to play, he will take my place and I understand that. He has performed well over the last couple of years and he deserves every credit that he gets. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have got. It’s been a good start to my career and hopefully it will not be the last.”
Captain Graeme Smith hailed Duminy’s contribution in his post-match Press conference. “He’s travelled with us for a period of time now, he’s watched so many Test matches with us over the last year-and-a-half from the sidelines, probably gaining a bit of experience, seeing what it’s all about. He’s played his fair share of one-day games now so he’s had a taste of it.
“As I said to him now in terms of the pressure he faced today, he’s not going to get any worse probably ever in his Test career so he played superbly. A guy at this stage of his career, an innings like that can only really do wonders for him as a person.”Tweet