Big day for SA‚ Duminy in small game at Newlands
Saturday’s fifth one-day international between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Newlands won’t mark only the end of the series‚ but also of JP Duminy’s career in the format on home soil.
The fourth game of the rubber‚ at St George’s Park on Wednesday‚ was Duminy’s first for South Africa since October because of a shoulder injury that required surgery — which gave him plenty of opportunity to think.
“I had a lot of time to reflect; where I want to go with my career and what’s important to me in the immediate future‚” he said in Cape Town on Friday.
“My family becomes a big part of that. I have two growing children and I want to be a present father. I’ve seen the difference it makes being at home.
“I’ve had an illustrious opportunity from a career point of view. But I’ve just got to that point where‚ from an appetite point of view for international cricket and the demands it makes on a daily basis‚ it’s come to the end.”
Newlands will doubtless give one of its favourite sons a fitting farewell — not least because it will hope he is part of the story of South Africa’s first World Cup triumph in England in May‚ June and July‚ where he will play his last ODIs.
“[I’ve got] massive aspirations to be part of that World Cup squad and hopefully bring that elusive trophy home for South Africa‚” Duminy said.
He’s played 193 ODIs‚ scoring four centuries and 27 half-centuries and taking 68 wickets — including a hattrick against the Lankans in the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal in Sydney. But it’s about more than all that.
“The journey is what you remember. It’s not necessarily the start or the finish.
“That’s what you thoroughly enjoy; the friendships that you’ve earned and made over the years. Not only internationally but [also] playing in tournaments around the world.
“I know it’s not the final curtain but it’s a chapter that’s going to be closing pretty soon.
“The bond and the culture that has been formed within this group has been an amazing honour to be part of.”
If he cracks the nod for the World Cup — and he sounded as if he was confident of doing so — his third trip to the tournament will be different.
“Even though it’s not my first one it feels like there’s something more to this World Cup‚” Duminy said. “It’s probably because it’s my last and you can see the finish line. There’s a bigger purpose to it.”
But first there’s Saturday’s game to deal with: an entirely dead rubber in a series South Africa lead 4-0‚ but their last competitive match before the World Cup.
And so‚ in some ways‚ nothing could be more important.