JP Duminy only announced his Test retirement in mid-September, but he knew his time in whites was up more than two months earlier. With scores of 15 and 2 in South Africa's series-opener against England in July, Duminy sensed he had reached the end, and when he was sent home from the tour after the second Test, it confirmed it.
"Walking off after Lord's, I felt a change needed to happen. I rightly deserved to be dropped. There were guys putting up their hands for places and I felt I needed a different path," Duminy said in Bloemfontein, ahead of the South African Invitation XI's match against the touring Bangladesh team.
At the time he was discarded, Duminy had gone eight innings with a top-score of 39. While he had scored two of his six hundreds in the last year, the lean patches he went through in between big scores meant there was constant pressure on him to justify his place. South Africa's line-up needed a relook with Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock wasted down the order and allrounders waiting in the wings to bolster both departments.
Since Duminy's departure, South Africa have rejigged things so that Bavuma bats at No.4 and de Kock at No.6, and have made room for either an extra allrounder or another bowler. They lost the series in England 3-1 but have just recorded a 2-0 win over Bangladesh at home. Although the quality of the opposition and the circumstances in which they are playing must be considered when assessing their performances, it seems they are on the right track.
Meanwhile, Duminy's "different path" has seen him begin a journey of his own, which mostly involves leadership. Duminy will captain the Invitation side, which also includes former ODI skipper AB de Villiers, who may also be after Duminy's Test spot, and was also due to lead the Cape Town Knight Riders in the now-postponed T20 Global League. Having chosen to finish his career playing white-ball cricket, it's understandable Duminy is particularly let down by the tournament being a non-starter.
"It is disappointing, not just from a South African point of view but also from a global point of view. I think the manner in which it has been postponed is the most disappointing," he said. "I'm hoping it's not the end. I'm hoping it can recover and we can come to a consensus about the way forward."
CSA maintains that the league will begin in 2018 but have a myriad of issues to resolve before then, not least the acquisition of a broadcast deal and title sponsor. Meanwhile, Duminy and South Africas's ODI outfit also have things to work on, chiefly on how they plan to win the 2019 World Cup.
For Duminy, it's not so much about the team strategy yet but about his own performances and making sure he does enough to remain part of South Africa's plans. "Every player wants to win the World Cup but we still have a long way to go. To be there, I have to keep putting in good performances," Duminy said. "It's good to have a long-term goal but it's also important that we stay focused on the present and what's in front of us."