Despite suffering a freak injury that ended his tour early and being forced to watch as players queue up to make the number seven spot in the order their own, South African batsman JP Duminy is staying positive.
He ruptured an Achilles tendon during the warm-down after the opening day of the first Test in Brisbane and has been ruled out of any cricket for between four and six months.
Now Francois du Plessis, Dean Elgar and possibly even Thami Tsolekile will have their eye on the number seven spot which he had made his own since the retirement of Mark Boucher earlier this year.
Selflessly, Duminy wishes them the best of luck and knows exactly what they must do to ensure South Africa maintain a proud record of not having lost a Test series away from home since 2006.
"They must take the opportunity with both hands," Duminy said. "These sorts of opportunities don’t come around often and you have to make the most of them. They are both quality players, they have proven themselves on the domestic scene so they definitely deserve their position."
Some have questioned why it was necessary for Duminy to be taking part in a warm-down as he was not involved in the day's play, watching on as South Africa closed on 255 for two. However, he has explained that it was his decision to engage in the post-session activities.
"It was a bit freakish," he said. “But with me not being part of the action on day one with the top order batters doing most of the job, I often like to get out after the day’s play and get the blood flowing in the legs a bit. A few of us were doing some shuttles and run-throughs and unfortunately on one of the turns I turned quite quickly and the Achilles snapped.
"Initially I thought the ball hit me at the back of the foot or somebody slapped me because I heard a clicking sound, but when I turned around and saw that there was nobody behind me I knew that something was wrong."
He has undergone surgery and now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines before the painstaking process of getting back to full fitness can begin. He is staying optimistic that this setback will not cause him to lose too much ground.
"I’m still quite young, I still have a long career ahead of me. I’m quite positive about these types of things, over the next four to six months it’s about me putting in the hard work again and making sure I come back to full strength.
"I feel the last three to six months have been a good part of my career and hopefully on my return I can follow up on that," he added.
Following the tour of Australia and home series against Pakistan and New Zealand, South Africa's schedule after that is relatively light, but Duminy might have the Champions Trophy in England next year as his target for an international comeback.
© Cricket World 2012
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