TWO former South African openers have endorsed Quinton de Kock’s credentials as an explosive One Day International (ODI) cricketer.
De Kock, sidelined for at least six weeks following a serious ankle injury in December and January, laboured through an unimpressive Cricket World Cup. The wicketkeeper-batsman scored 145 runs at a modest average of 20,71 and compiled only one match-winning innings — his unbeaten 78 against Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals.
Subsequently, the explosive 22-year-old left-hander featured in a mere three matches for the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League. He struck two half-centuries in the T20-league and averaged 40,66.
Gary Kirsten, his coach at the Daredevils and a former South African player and coach, was philosophical about De Kock’s struggles in the quadrennial showpiece. Contacted via e-mail to comment on the left-hander’s form, Kirsten said batsmen often go through times in their career in which they have to learn more about and understand their own technique, especially as they move into the highest level of the game.
“Quinton is going through that phase. He will come out the other end a better player because of it.”
Kirsten said De Kock did not get much game-time for Delhi because of the initial combination that the management team supported, which included Imran Tahir in the team.
“He [Quinton] has the potential to be a great IPL-player. I’m happy to have him in our squad,” he added.
Jimmy Cook, another former South African player who coached De Kock at junior level, said it is pivotal from a South African point of view that the management and coaching staff give De Kock licence to play with freedom and express himself at the Twenty20 ICC World Cup.
It is inevitable that a great stroke-player with a belligerent approach like Brendon McCullum or De Kock will register occasional low scores. But the coaching staff must persist with him when that happens.
When he scores a 50 or 60, it is at such a lofty strike-rate that it puts South Africa in a potential match-winning position, he added.
In terms of ODIs, De Kock boasts a healthy average of 38,87 in 44 matches, including an amazing six centuries at the tender age of 22.
Cook, though, feels De Kock could still learn to rein himself in at the infancy stage of an innings. — MWP