jp rewarded for patience

Meshack Khotha

Meshack Khotha

Perseverance is the mother of success, so goes the old adage.

And this has paid off rich dividends for 24-year-old Proteas left-hand batsman Jean-Paul Duminy who almost quit cricket before realising his dream of representing his country at the top level of the game.

The talented Cape Cobras batsman known as JP replaced the injured Ashwell Prince on the current tour of Australia, and took the opportunity with both hands and with it centre stage.

He produced a dazzling performance against world beaters Australia at the world-famous MCG, his magnificent 166 runs in the second Test helping the Proteas pull off a stunning nine-wicket victory.

On his debut he helped the Proteas to chase down 414 in Perth with an unbeaten 50.

It was the first time South Africa beat Australia on home soil in 16 years.

JP's remarkable batting won the hearts of South African supporters and partisan Australians .

The right-arm offbreak bowler who started playing cricket at the age of eight in Western Cape, became disillusioned with the game after failing to get a call-up to the national Under-15 squad in 1998.

Three years later he also failed to make the grade for the SA Under-19 team that represented the country at the Under-19 World Cup.

His father John persuaded him not to quit the sport. He often reminded JP Rome was not built in a day , and pleaded with him to work hard .

Duminy senior told Sowetanhe was always positive JP would make a breakthrough one day because he had potential and was always cooperative.

"On and off the field, I begged him not to throw in the towel. Instead, I insisted that he had to toil to win the confidence of the national selectors," said Duminy senior, who is a squash coach in Cape Town.

"I commended him for heeding my advice because most youths are not prepared to wait for their chances."

Father and son have been in telephone contact since the Proteas left for Australia.

After their stunning victory over the Australians the Proteas' latest hero has called his father and told him: "I am over the moon and did not know that I could do so well for my country. I have surprised myself as well.

"It was a great moment to be part of the victorious team. I hope to maintain my performance in the national team and the local domestic competitions."