The Proteas’ patience with the embattled JP Duminy has finally run out.
Captain Faf du Plessis on Thursday confirmed the 33-year-old left-hander has been dropped for the second Test in Nottingham starting on Friday.
It means the skipper himself will in all likelihood shoulder the responsibility of batting at No 4 in the order.
Also read: Proteas: Morne Morkel on his no-ball curse
“Of course it was a difficult decision to make,” admitted Du Plessis.
“I know what JP brings to the team except the runs he can score. But he knows that it’s runs that guarantee you your place in this team. JP’s performances simply haven’t been consistent enough and therefore someone else should get an opportunity.”
When Duminy was earmarked to take over the spot vacated by AB de Villiers in last year’s series against New Zealand, various critics were sceptical of whether he could fulfil the role.
The Cape Cobras stalwart started out well enough in making 88 in the second Test against the Black Caps and then setting up a notable victory in Perth against Australia with an excellent 141.
But Duminy only went past 50 twice in 17 Test innings after that, which included a 155 against Sri Lanka in a meaningless match at the Wanderers.
In fact, since the beginning of March, he’s only averaged 17.28 with the bat in Test cricket.
His form in one-day internationals in 2017 certainly influenced the selectors’ decision too – an average of 25.7 with a highest score of 39.
“JP has taken the decision well,” said Du Plessis.
“If there was a guy you’d want to use as an example of what your conduct should be, it’s him. He’s a great team man. JP has admitted his performances haven’t been stacking up.”
With the Proteas’ batting depth in the spotlight after the 211-run capitulation at Lord’s, it’s also debatable whether Duminy was afforded a longer run than his form warranted simply because there wasn’t anyone viable to replace him.
However, Du Plessis is reluctant to suggest that.
“I’m not sure that’s the case.
“With JP, he offers a lot apart from his runs. He’s just one of those guys you hope desperately does well because you know he adds so much. And when you have guys like that, you tend to run a little longer with them.”