The Castle Lager Proteas have turned their focus to the ‘do or die’ third Test match against India starting in Nagpur on Wednesday. The squad held a lengthy training session at the 45000-seater Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadiumon Sunday morning as preparations intensified after more than a week without action. Proteas all-rounder, JP Duminy, says the mood in the camp is positive and determined ahead of what is arguably their most important match of the tour.
“The psyche is quite good in the change room,” Duminy said to the media after practice. “We know that it’s a tough challenge for us but we also know that we have the capabilities to counter those challenges. We have done it before in the past, we have come here and played well in all formats. There are two more Tests and a long way to go in the series, it’s important for us to start off well on Wednesday.”
Duminy himself hasn’t had much game time since his injury in the third ODI in Rajkot, but even after a month on the side-lines and the short appearance in his comeback Test in Bengaluru, he feels more prepared than ever to take on the responsibility with the bat in the middle order and with the ball with his part-time off-spin.
“It doesn’t bother me too much,” he said of the long breaks. “I missed two months before the T20 series so sometimes a break can be good for one, just to mentally refresh and to get away from the game. I’m not too worried about my outings up until now, it’s a matter of focusing on what lies ahead and preparing accordingly, making sure I tick the boxes I like to tick when preparing for a match.
“There is always the added pressure of contributing with the ball,” he admitted. “But I think the pressure comes from my own expectations of myself because I pride myself on my performance, I want to make sure I’m contributing whether it’s turning or not. The conditions don’t make a difference to my expectations of myself. Given the opportunity I will always want to contribute towards the team.”
Duminy says the batsmen, in particular, will have to find clarity in their game plans to counter R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, an approach he feels comes down to playing the ball rather than the man.
“It’s different for everybody,” he said of the strategy to the Indian spinners. “Everyone has a different game plan according to which bowler they are going to face. It’s hard for me to say how each guy is going to play. It’s about sticking to your own game plan and making sure that you are confident with that plan. That is what these three days of preparation are about, it’s making sure you are confident going into the game from a preparation point of view.”