Why JP Duminy is the best choice to lead Delhi Daredevils this IPL season
At the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction held in Bengaluru in February earlier this year, all the franchises purchased several players in a bid to strengthen their team and plug the gaps, if any, that had opened up.
But Delhi Daredevils entered the auction with a bigger purse than all others and used that purse to buy a total of 14 players, including the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Angelo Mathews. The Gary Kirsten-coached side purchased a good mix of batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders and would be hoping to make a much bigger impact this season than in the 2014 edition.
With less than a month to go for the start of a new season of the IPL, the Delhi-based team announced the appointment of South African left-hander Jean-Paul Duminy as their captain for the 2015 season of the T20 tournament. But while the announcement surprised many, a closer inspection of the reasons behind appointing Duminy as the skipper for the season reveals that it was probably the best selection in the circumstances.
Duminy, the pressure player
One of the qualities that everybody looks for in a captain is his ability to stand up and perform when the going gets tough. And the 30-year-old left-hander has consistently displayed the knack of delivering in crunch situations.
Early in his career, while playing a Test match against Australia, Duminy rescued the side from a difficult position with a knock of unwavering tenacity. Responding to Australia’s first innings total of 394, the Proteas were reeling at 251 for 8, but Duminy turned the match around with a 340-ball 166 that was studded with 18 fours. He put on 180 runs with number 10 Dale Steyn, who scored a valiant 76 himself.
That stand helped his side seal an incredible win, as the fast bowlers returned to dismiss the Aussies for 247 in the second innings and the batsmen then chased down the target of 183 runs to record a historic win. Although Duminy didn't receive the Player of the Match award for his effort, his knock was a significant factor in ensuring that his side won the contest despite being behind at one point.
Another example where Duminy showed his ability to deliver when the heat was on was during the 2009 Champions League that was held in India. Representing his domestic franchise the Cape Cobras, Duminy scored an unbeaten 99 off 52 balls in a steep chase of 181 runs. His pyrotechnics guided the Cobras to a thrilling last over win against Royal Challengers Bangalore and stunned the home fans at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Making the most of limited opportunities
With the likes of AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and others getting a lot more chances to bat at the top of the South African order in the last few years, the left-hander has been starved of opportunities to make substantial contributions. But whenever he has got chances in the T20 format he has made them count, like any true champion would. The 40-ball 45 that he scored in the 2014 World T20 semifinal last year against India, which propelled his side to a total of 172, is a fine example of that.
Duminy has a very good overall record in domestic T20, having scored 4,284 runs in 175 matches at a strike-rate of 121.01. He is also a capable off-spinner, having taken 54 wickets at a reasonable economy of 7.48. He even picked up a hat-trick in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final against Sri Lanka in Sydney earlier this month!
Considering all these factors, it definitely sounds like a good decision on the part of Gary Kirsten and the rest of the support staff to appoint Duminy as their skipper for the tournament. After their disappointing season in 2014, where they finished in the last position, Delhi Daredevils would be hoping that Duminy can change their fortunes with some inspired captaincy.