He has been one of the most consistent performers in T20 cricket but JP Duminy feels that it is his compatriot AB de Villiers, who has changed the landscape of T20 batsmanship with his innovative shot-making.
“AB de Villiers proves a case in point as to how the T20 game has evolved. Look at the number of shots he has and the kind of spectacular innings he played the other night (vs Sunrisers). His batting is not about just trying to hit straight out of the park. It’s about being innovative and being able to understand what bowlers are trying to achieve,” Duminy told PTI during an interaction in New Delhi on Tuesday.
He has scored 240 runs for Delhi at a healthy strike-rate of nearly 137 but Duminy feels that competing with De Villiers has never crossed his mind.
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“I was never in competition with AB. We will both admit that we are happy to see each other doing well and even when we play against each other. We are great friends on and off the field. Best part we play for same team, so there has never been any competition with him. I have enjoyed batting with him since our U-19 days,” the 30-year-old from Cape Town said.
Duminy, who has so far featured in 21 Tests, 115 ODIs and 55 T20 Internationals for South Africa, said that he tries to pick up finer points from players like AB, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli.
“There are no specific players that I look upto but I do keenly follow the way players like AB or MS approach their innings. For example, MS is a master at reading game situation and what is required from him,” Duminy, who himself is one of of the finest finishers in T20 circuit, said.
He has played under the leadership of Graeme Smith and is now playing under the likes of de Villiers and Faf du Plessis. The gutsy left-hander would tell you that comparing leadership styles of Smith from Faf and AB is like chalk and cheese.
“Somebody like Graeme was very outspoken. His mere presence in the dressing room was inspiring. Faf and AB love to lead by example with performances. There are different ways of leading as per suitable styles. Graeme was an unbelievable leader but now it’s a great opportunity for next generation to take on leadership roles,” Duminy tried to put things into perspective.
Asked if national captaincy has passed him, Duminy said he does not think like that.
“I don’t think it passed me as it is not something that I have done a lot in my career.”
Although Daredevils have won only two matches, Duminy feels that the seventh edition of IPL has been the most satisfying one for him so far.
“I have not played as many games like most players in the earlier editions of IPL but this one is definitely going lot better than previous ones but there are seven more games to go.
“Obviously, I would love to contribute for the team and not only from IPL perspective but from overall point of view, I am pretty happy with my performance. I am looking to improve my game further,” Duminy said.
Duminy made it clear that he has no problems with his current batting slot in the Daredevils team.
“I am pretty happy. It’s not about an individual but it’s about what is best for the team. Look at the batting line-up of DD. There are guys who have the x-factor. Even for South Africa, I bat at number five and same thing I am doing for Delhi. I see no problems,” he said.
Duminy has not set any specific targets for himself as he feels that even a 10 from two balls can make a difference in the final context of the match.
“I have no specific targets set. I am happy to do what is required from me — be it 10 off 2 balls or 50 off 30 balls. If I don’t bat and team wins, I am happy about that also. I have past that stage of my career when I would think only about myself,” he said.
Duminy said he prefers bowling his off-breaks only when the majority of the top-order is filled with left-handed batsmen.
“I bowl as per requirements of the team. I fancy myself against left-handers and if you see the last two matches, there hasn’t been too many of them. Remember that batsmen always face difficulties facing a delivery that turns away. On Monday against CSK, they didn’t have too many left-handers barring Suresh Raina. Now Raina also plays the spin bowling very well.”
The Proteas batsman cites David Warner’s example as someone who has has smooth transition from T20 to Test cricket.
“It’s just about the mindset. If you look at Warner, he is one of the most destructive Test players. More than technique it’s the mindset that manners,” Duminy said.
Duminy is a passionate golfer who loves watching Tiger Woods and young Rickie Fowler in action.
“I play with a 6-handicap and it’s not bad at all. I play with reverse grip, right-handed. I enjoy playing the game,” he signed off.