Cape Town - Some would say he’s very comfortably picked the
lock into the regular national one-day set-up anyway ... but Quinton de Kock is
looking to threaten further milestones before he gets the key of the door.
The left-handed Lions sensation turns 21 on December 17, the
day before the Proteas’ Test series against India begins at the Wanderers.
He will play no part in that occasion, as the SA selectors
on Monday predictably stuck with the tried-and-trusted for the time being in
that format, using the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy in naming
It seems only a matter of time before he breaks into the
five-day arena as well, but for the moment De Kock should only continue his
dazzling development as a limited-overs force for the Proteas both as opening
batsman and wicketkeeper.
He has one more ODI before that 21st birthday,
and is in such good touch that adding a third century in as many matches in the
dead-rubber clash at SuperSport Park on Wednesday cannot be ruled out (perhaps
his most daunting obstacle is a grim weather forecast at this stage rather than
the world champions’ hitherto erratic attack).
Should he somehow pull that off, he would swell to five an
illustrious quartet of batsmen to have previously achieved three tons on the
trot: Pakistanis Zaheer Abbas (1982/83) and Saeed Anwar (1993) and compatriots
Herschelle Gibbs (2002) and captain AB de Villiers (2010).
Gibbs got 116 against Kenya, 116 not out against India and
153 against Bangladesh in that golden trot for him, while De Villiers
registered 114 not out and 102 against India and 102 against West Indies in his
own bonanza eight years later.
De Kock has already -- courtesy of his 135 in Johannesburg
and 106 in Durban against India to add to his maiden century against Pakistan
in the UAE -- become only the fourth batsman in ODIs to hit three or more
double-figure scores for his country before turning 21.
But his achievement is arguably the most credible of the lot
because his knocks have all come against top-tier nations.
The leader with four thus far is Ireland’s Paul Stirling,
for instance, although three of those centuries have come against co-minnows
Canada, the Netherlands and Scotland.
There have been three centuries each for Bangladeshis Tamin
Iqbal (against Ireland, Zimbabwe and England) and Shahriar Nafees (all against
In Sunday’s thumping win at Kingsmead to clinch the series
early, De Kock earned another tidy milestone as he became the fifth player in
ODI history to both strike a century and claim four dismissals in an innings.
He joins Alec Stewart (England), Mohammad Shahzad
(Afghanistan) and two men also taking part in the current series, the Proteas’
De Villiers – against Bangladesh at Potchefstroom in October 2010 -- and his
Indian counterpart as captain MS Dhoni.
Thanks to his successive tons against the World Cup holders,
De Kock’s batting average is heading north at a rate of knots after only 15 ODI
appearances – it is now 42.66.
Any bets against that improving further at Centurion?
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