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Shirin Sadikot in Mohali

Love batting high up the order: Duminy

SRH batsman says he is happy with the transition from finisher to anchor

Just five months ago, Jean Paul Duminy was fighting his way back into the South African team after an Achilles injury. Since then, he’s been an integral part of the team with some excellent performance in the ODIs and T20Is.

Coming into the 2013 CLT20, Duminy is a key figure in the Sunrisers Hyderabad batting lineup, especially in the absence of Kumar Sangakkara. The South African who started his career as floater and was thrust into the role of a finisher, is now a vital cog in his team’s middle-order.

At SRH he brings a calming effect in the innings, while also showing readiness to take sensible risks. He showed that in the final Qualifier, against Otago Volts, with an unbeaten 57 off 38 balls after SRH had lost their in-form openers with 25 on board.

After the match, Duminy spoke to clt20.com about his transition from the finisher to the builder of the innings.

You have been in good nick since the time you have returned from that Achilles injury. How did you hit the ground running?

It’s taken a long time – long rehab and then preparation. I was out of the game for seven months and that gave me a lot of time to think about how I wanted to go about things and prepare accordingly. The great thing about that time was that I had good bunch of people around me, looking after me and making sure I was up to date with whatever I needed to do.

You played an ODI and a T20 series in Sri Lanka before coming here. At your level and with your experience, does it matter a lot if you play a series in similar conditions before going into a fast-paced tournament like this?

It matters for sure. It always helps when you play in similar conditions before coming into a tournament. The psyche of the game is that if you do well somewhere, you’re always going to take confidence out of it when you come across similar conditions. I played some good innings in Sri Lanka, which helped coming here. I’m glad I’ve got a good run in the qualifying stage and I can take that momentum in the tournament.

Early in your career you started out as a finisher but now you bat at 3 and 4. How has that transition come about?

I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve always enjoyed batting at No.3 or 4, irrespective of the formats. It’s all about opportunities. There are opportunities that have come up with the national team as well as for the Sunrisers for me to bat higher up the order and now it’s all about me grabbing them. I need to assess the conditions and figure out how I want to plan my innings; the better I can do it, the more runs I will make at this position.

Does the time you spent batting lower down the order, facing pressure situations, help you now in this role?

Yes, it does. There is a huge difference coming in to bat early and batting at the back end of the innings to finish the game. Having played those innings where I was required to finish games has helped me develop another aspect of my game. Now it’s just how I combine the two – building the innings and finishing it – and get the balance right. If I do so, I will be able to give in big performances.

Do you think given your batting style, which is pretty classical and solid, batting higher up the order suits you more?

I’d like to think so. But at the end of the day it’s all about putting the runs on the board irrespective of where you bat. It’s a team sport and you’ve got to try and deliver whatever the team requires off you.

In absence of someone like a Sangakkara, do you take up the role of the anchor in the SRH innings?

I wouldn’t say anchor as much as a role in which I need to assess the situation of the innings and adapt my game accordingly. In the first two matches the opening partnership practically got us home. So there wasn’t any need for me to take any risk. In this game (against Otago Volts) since we were batting first, I had to take a bit more initiative and take some more calculative risks.

You have a very happy memory of the first edition of the CLT20. Where do you rate that 99 against RCB among your best T20 innings?

It’s definitely up there among the top-five innings I’ve ever played in any format. It will be tough to match that at any stage but it will be nice to get somewhere close to that knock in this tournament.

You have played a lot with Shikhar in the IPL – in MI, DC and now SRH. What do you make of his recent success?

In the last year he’s been exceptional and he has surprised many people with the way he’s come out and performed, especially at the international scene. He’s filled some big boots in the Indian team and has stepped up wonderfully. I’ve played so much with him and we have become great friends. It’s always good to see your team-mates do well and achieve heights. Hopefully, he can go from strength to strength for us in this tournament.

How has he evolved as a cricketer and a person?

One thing that stands out is his decisiveness, especially out in the middle. He bats at the top or the order for us and he is the key for us to get a good start. Just to see how he has taken that role and blossomed it with that responsibility is amazing.

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