Columnists 5.6.2018 03:04 pm

The thing we seem to forget when it comes to filling the AB hole…

JP Duminy of South Africa drives a delivery through the covers during the 3rd Momentum ODI match between South Africa and India at PPC Newlands on February 07, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images)

JP Duminy of South Africa drives a delivery through the covers during the 3rd Momentum ODI match between South Africa and India at PPC Newlands on February 07, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images)

It might not be all that useful to debate who should replace the recently retired legend for the World Cup because there’s a certain enigma still present.

Last weekend Aiden Markram became the latest Proteas batsman to state his willingness to fulfill AB de Villiers’ batting role in one-day cricket.

The position has become a big talking point, especially with the World Cup in England just over a year away.

Predictably, the South African cricketing community has indulged in the fairly typical practice of speculating over which player is the best replacement for De Villiers.

It’s little wonder then that names like Markram, Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn and Heinrich Klaasen have been throw into various conversations.

However, the irony (at least for me) is that I’m not so sure how useful this debate is currently.

In the rush to anoint a successor, we seem to have forgotten that a certain JP Duminy is still available for the Proteas in white-ball cricket.

To be honest, the 34-year-old left-hander’s is struggling to hold on to the goodwill of the cricketing public and the national selectors.

There have been far too many false dawns in this talented but flawed cricketer’s career.

Even last year’s much trumpeted retirement from Test cricket didn’t really deliver great results.

Duminy seemed to enjoy playing without many shackles for the Cape Cobras though that freedom didn’t translate into much runs for South Africa in the series against India (to be fair, no-one really performed in that horror show).

Some will argue national coach Ottis Gibson might as well just try out new candidates for the role as there’s no guarantee that Duminy will perform better than them anyway.

But the flip side of that coin is that things could work out so brilliantly for the Proteas if he decides to deliver his best one last time, culminating in a good World Cup.

Duminy is experienced and a versatile batsman that can build an innings solidly but also accelerate.

Not to mention, his off-spin – when it’s on-song – is a very useful option.

Importantly, a performing Duminy means Gibson and co have a spot open in a starting XI for something more pressing like an extra all-rounder.

After all, it’s only fair to ask: what is a World Cup year about?

Is it to groom stars of the future?

Or is it to win an elusive World Cup?

An in-form Duminy can go a long way to helping one win that showpiece tournament.

The future is only for after that, not now.

But with Duminy, you just never know…

Heinz Schenk: Online Sports Editor.

 

 

 

 

 

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