On the face of it it would seem that the Proteas are going to lean heavily on the experience of their T20 squad as they embark on their journey towards the ICC World T20 competition in India next month.
Of the 15-man contingent who will carry the hopes of South Africa, 10 players were part of the squad at the last renewal and 11 players, 12 if you count David Wiese who withdrew through injury, were part of their successful tour to India at the end of last year.
The squad head into a crucial phase of their preparations with the first of two T20 matches against England at Newlands on Friday evening, a game against the same opposition at the Wanderers on Sunday before three matches against Australia.
“Those five games are going to be important, not only for me but us as a team going into that tournament,” JP Duminy, who has been in good form in cricket’s shortest format, said ahead of the series.
“Hopefully we can do well in those five games and take a bit of confidence into the tournament,” Duminy, who was South Africa’s top scorer on the T20 portion of the India tour with a haul of 98 in two games, added.
While things have gone well in the T20 format the same cannot be said as far as one day and Test cricket is concerned of late with Duminy playing a minimal role with the ball in both formats against England, something he’s hoping to turn around.
“I think it all depends on the combinations we go with. I think that will determine my sort of role with the ball.
“I’m definitely willing and wanting to contribute with the ball and yes, of late I haven’t bowled as well as I could have but that doesn’t take away the fact that I can still contribute. Hopefully when opportunities to arise I stand up with the ball and make it count,” said Duminy.
His runs in India came when batting at number four and while it’s likely that he’ll fulfil that role once more, the left-hander is versatile enough to move up and down the order according to the needs of the Proteas.
“I’ve had some decent success in this format and I guess it’s understanding what my role was in the positions I’ve batted. I’ve batted in between four and six and tried to contribute the best way possible according to that role.
“In the last series I batted at four which I thoroughly enjoyed and it’s a position I thoroughly enjoy in T20 cricket. Batting at four in this tournament will be a good opportunity to make some influential performances,” Duminy said.
Batting that far up the order is also an opportunity for Duminy, South Africa’s highest run-scorer in this format and the fourth highest ever, to assume some extra responsibility.
“That’s the only way you can improve as a cricketer is to be given that responsibility and try perform under that pressure. Wherever you find yourself, especially in this format, there’s always going to be pressure around you,” he said.
The Proteas T20 squad will regroup in Cape Town today.