Numbers can be deceptive if one looks at them nakedly. Statistics doesn’t reveal the conditions, the complexion of the game, or the balance of the side. They just put some numbers into the table.
If one goes merely by numbers then J.P Duminy should be a regular starter for Delhi Daredevils; the southpaw is the most experienced batsman in the squad and his numbers back him.
Duminy has an IPL career average of 41.55, which is a staggering number given the format, and a strike rate of 125.35 to go by that average is more than a decent number.
Last season he scored 414 runs for a struggling Delhi side at 41.40 with a strike rate of 131. Even if one goes by his recent form, they are as impressive as any. His batting average this season is 75.50!
So why does the question over his spot in the team arise? He should be the side’s No 3, the chief anchor, isn’t it? Not necessarily.
Whenever Duminy has played he has kept one of Morris, Brathwaite and Billings out of the side (Until yesterday’s game where Duminy was rightly drooped). These are some serious T20 names to be sitting out. Only a month ago, Carlos Brathwaite just needed four balls to seal the World Cup for West Indies which until then looked all but England’s. To make an impact, he needn’t to bat for longer periods and can change the match upside down in just a matter of a few deliveries. He is no fluke and has proven that. Add to that, he is no mug with the ball either.
South Africa’s tall, Chris Morris is a dangerous all-rounder. He bowls with the new ball, bowls at the death, hurries the batsmen and can bend his back if and when needed. He has bowled with an economy of 6.83 this year, and has picked crucial wickets at regular intervals.
His 32-ball 82 against Gujarat Lions, containing eight mammoth sixes, is just a glimpse of what he can do with the willow in hand. He almost single-handily won the game, something that he did for South Africa against England a few months back with one such similar knock. It makes no sense to bench him irrespective of the opposition and pitch.
Sam Billings is a new entry to IPL, but his talent didn’t take any longer than his debut match to make an impression. A stroke-filled 34-ball 54 against KKR was as good a knock as any. The wicket-keeper-batsman from Kent is an exciting prospect in the middle-overs, good at unsettling the spinners by innovating scoring opportunities.
Duminy isn’t playing the all-rounder’s role either. He has only bowled 4 overs this season! So is Duminy good enough to keep these quality T20 players out of the playing 11?
Apart from his 49 off 31 against MI, he hasn’t made much of an impact this season. Hi 48 off 43 balls, came in a losing cause against GL. He didn’t finish when he should have after playing for so long. Against RPS, after playing out 32 balls he mustered a mere 34 runs, another match which Delhi lost as RPS successfully chased.
Paddy Upton and Rahul Dravid finally made the right decision yesterday by dropping Duminy against Punjab. It needs to be seen if they will stick to the decision for the reminder of the IPL.
Delhi will be bettered served without the services of Duminy, for not always numbers and experience derive the desired results. Brathwaite, Morris and Billings are not here to fill numbers, they are here to win matches, which they definitely will, if persisted with.