JP Duminy, first captain of the Cape Town Knight Riders, has earmarked the rookie of the Global T20 League franchise, Jason Smith, as a future South African player.
He has also highlighted the buy-in of the passionate, knowledgeable and die-hard Mother City fans as a pivotal part of the Knight Riders’ success in the T20 Global League starting on 3rd November at PPC Newlands.
Duminy, officially announced as the captain at the unveiling of the squad by the chief executive officer of the Kolkata Knight Riders, Venky Mysore, at the media centre at Newlands, said he played with Smith two seasons ago at Newlands.
The young Smith struck 50 for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in his first Momentum One Day Cup match. After that match, Duminy said he immediately knew of what ilk and steel Smith was made.
“I said to myself after the game: this man will play for South Africa. Already this year, Jason has made his debut for South Africa A.
“He has the capabilities of doing it (playing for South Africa), although he is not completely there yet. It comes with a lot of hard work and sacrifices to play for South Africa. He is one for the future.
He must just make sure he puts in the hard yards, focus on the right things and keeps his feet on the ground,” he said.
Mysore on Sunday highlighted Dale Steyn, Duminy and Chris Gayle as stars with the X-factor – stars who can single-handedly win you matches.
Duminy on Monday said Smith and Tom Curran are two players that might surprise many onlookers as both possess the X-factor.
Smith struck 500 first-class runs last season and captured 20 wickets in franchise-cricket. It included a 100 off 88 deliveries in a Sunfoil Series match against the eventual champions, the VKB Knights.
Curran, whose father, Kevin, represented Natal, Boland and Zimbabwe, nipped out 3-33 in his maiden T20 match for England against South Africa in 2017 and took another two scalps in the next match as England ran out winners by 2-0.
“Tom is still a young kid with great opportunities to showcase his skills at this level,” said Duminy.
Duminy said getting buy-in from the local community and practicing in the local community is vital. “Performance plays a big part.
Winning is crucial, so if you quickly string together winning performances, you will fill the stadium as you have a very loyal Cape Town-based crowd who loves to support a Newlands-based team,” Duminy said.
The skipper also applauded the initiative to introduce a Global T20 league. “The beauty of this international format is that it has now been introduced and it is crucial for domestic cricket.
“Just look what impact the Indian Premier League had on Indian cricket. They are the number 1 ranked test team in the world. The T20 Global League will play a major part in promoting our domestic system.”
Duminy said the team will have to buy into a specific style or brand of how they want to win games, and must consistently stick with it, especially if the team keeps on winning.
His role is to be a servant, to receive buy-in from the other players and to make sure every player is in a safe space.
Duminy is rated as a world-class T20 player, having scored 1683 runs at an average of 38.25 at a strike-rate of 124.29 in 71 matches.
He has also captured 17 wickets and is a superb, athletic fielder.
Earlier, Jacques Kallis, one of South Africa’s best players of all time, was unveiled as head coach of the Cape Town Knight Riders.
He described PPC Newlands as the best ground with the finest fans in the world. Kallis struck nine test centuries at the ground.
Kallis said in a one-on-one interview the team, in its style or brand, will focus on “different things”.
The team might be aggressively targeting weaker links in the bowling attacks of other teams and attempt an adventurous gung-ho style in the middle-period.