JACOB Duffy’s rapid rise to the Otago Volts’ captaincy has coincided with a spike in his own bowling form, and he believes he may know why.
The Southland product has been handed the captaincy duties throughout the Volts’ Ford Trophy one-day campaign.
He has shared the duties with either Hamish Rutherford, Mark Craig or Brad Wilson during games in what is a unique co-captaincy set up.
After a disastrous summer last season, many were predicting another bleak season for the Otago Volts when the likes of James Neesham and Neil Wagner transferred to other associations.
However, 24-year-old Duffy and others have fast settled into leadership roles within the group to help push the Volts to a Ford Trophy play-off spot.
With one round-robin fixture to be played against Auckland in Invercargill on Saturday, the Volts sit second with six wins from nine games.
Duffy has shown no signs the captaincy responsibility has affected his own bowling. In fact it seems to have provided his bowling with a boost.
He has been the key figure in the Volts’ surge this season, taking 20 wickets at an average of just 18 runs.
In the Volts’ latest outing, he took six for 35 to help Otago to a win over Canterbury in Christchurch.
“The less I think about my own bowling the better it actually is for my bowling. Previously, I probably would think about it too much, but with the captaincy you are concentrating on a lot of other things,” he said.
Duffy felt the co-captaincy situation had worked well.
He led the seam bowling attack while others chipped in from a batting perspective, as well as with the spin bowling department.
“My knowledge of spin is pretty limited, so I pretty much just leave them to it. It works really well,” he said.
Duffy conceded that following last season there needed to be a culture change in the Volts set-up and he said that had happened.
They prided themselves this season on preparation, including the scouting of other teams, he said.
deliver some wins for coaches Rob Walter and Anton Roux, who came under pressure after last season’s poor result.
“I feel like we let them down, because they are better coaches than last season’s results,” he said.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for the former Southland Boys’ High School pupil on Saturday, as Duffy gets to captain the Volts at the Queens Park ground where he learned his craft while playing as a junior.
“I always love getting to play there, even if it can be tough on the bowlers.