JOHANNESBURG - JP Duminy said he was “very optimistic” about the Proteas’ chances at the T20 World Cup, citing the self-belief among the players as a primary reason.
Duminy was roped in as a “strategic consultant,’ following Enoch Nkwe’s resignation as the national team’s assistant coach. Nkwe has still not publicly explained why he resigned - just days before the South African men’s team’s tour to Sri Lanka, with Cricket SA saying it would conduct an inquiry into Nkwe’s concerns about the team’s culture and environment.
Proteas limited overs captain, Temba Bavuma has met privately with Nkwe, but didn’t reveal details of that discussion. Duminy, and Justin Sammons, a batting coach, who is currently employed by North West but previously worked with a number of the Proteas players as part of the Gauteng team, were roped into the national team’s coaching set up for the World Cup.
Duminy, who retired from international cricket following the 2019 World Cup, has recently been working as a batting lead for the Central Gauteng Lions, and said his role with the national team was to be a facilitator for the players. “The way I see that is to try and add value wherever I can. It’s not specifically honing in on any particular department,” he said.
Only David Miller with 87 has played more T20 Internationals for the Proteas, than Duminy’s 81, while he’s also played in the Caribbean, Indian, Canadian and Pakistan T20 Leagues. Duminy wants to bring that experience into the Proteas T20 World Cup squad emphasising his love for “one on one coffees and chats,” as moments where he will provide input.
“There is a belief within each other which is great to see and contagious. The guys know what to do, and believe they can go all the way,” Duminy, who played in all six previous T20 World Cup tournaments, said.
The 11 Proteas players, who are in the country, along with the coaching and management staff have been in camp in Durban preparing for the tournament. Initially they helding bonding sessions which included their families,following which they tackled more technical and tactical aspects during a couple of training matches.
The group will depart for Dubai on Sunday and will spend six days in quarantine before they can start training properly for the tournament. The seven players who are at the IPL, which is currently being played in the UAE, will join them at various stages once their campaign in that competition ends.
The players’ families will accompany them for the quarantine period, as well as the first week of the tournament itself. Duminy said the roles of families was vital, given the prohibitive nature of life in ‘bio bubbles’ a point that was emphasised again on Friday by West Indian great, Chris Gayle, who asked for a break from the IPL, having been in ‘bio bubbles’ for months at various tournaments.
“Families play a role in providing a positive distraction,” said Duminy.
South Africa, has been drawn in Group 1 at the tournament, and will open its World Cup campaign on October 23 against Australia at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
SA Squad for T20 World Cup:
Temba Bavuma (capt), Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen,, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.
Reserves: George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lizaad Williams