Proteas

AB 'keeping is not a long term plan

2015-12-10 08:00
Quinton de Kock (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The biggest shock in the 13-man Proteas Test squad for the first two Tests against England over Christmas and New Years was the omission of Quinton de Kock. 

Dane Vilas, and pretty much everybody else, struggled with the bat in India and he was expected to lose his place. 

But the decision to give AB de Villiers the gloves for the Durban and Cape Town Tests was not expected. 

De Kock, dropped from the Proteas Test side on their Bangladesh tour in July, was then left out of the touring party that was pummeled in India. 

Instead, he toured there with the SA A team in August and made serious runs. De Kock was then recalled to the ODI side that played in India where again he excelled, with two centuries in the Proteas' 3-2 series win.  

And while the Proteas have been tormented in India over the last four matches, De Kock has been in fine form for the Titans in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge. 

All signs pointed towards a Test recall, but convenor of selectors Linda Zondi has helped explain the thought process behind the decision.

"I think the key for us was to have AB (De Villiers) take the gloves which was a big plus in terms of making sure that the balance of the team was sorted," Zondi told Sport24 on Thursday.

"To have AB take the gloves gives us the option to have an extra batter."

The argument is that in De Kock the Proteas could have that extra batter, but the tone from Zondi was that the Proteas need to get off to a good start against England at all costs. 

This, it seems, is not the time to re-introduce somebody to Test cricket. 

The decision to back Stiaan van Zyl at the top of the innings in home conditions means that Temba Bavuma, who is starting to carve a reputation for himself as a promising young talent, can move down the order to a more familiar position. 

"At the present moment I think our short term goal is to make sure that we start well in the England series, and having AB to keep is an extra edge for us," said Zondi.

"In India most of our batters did not perform which was rare. We all know that they are world class players. We need to back those players. We don’t want to make drastic changes. It is important for us to make sure that we have experience and that we have youngsters coming through as well."

De Kock may even get to play in this series, but that will be largely dependent on the position the Proteas find themselves in after the first two Tests. 

As Zondi said, this is not the long term solution, and it is there where De Kock comes very much into the reckoning.

"Quinton de Kock is still going to play a massive role in the Proteas setup as we move forward," said Zondi.

"But at the present moment we have AB taking the gloves and he has committed himself for the next two matches. It’s indicated to us that AB is a team man. He has put the team first and we are grateful for that.

"It is a short term option ... we’ll assess the situation after the first two Tests. We might look at moving into our long term plan, which we do have, or we might ask him to stay on for the other two Tests."

The Proteas take on England in the first of four Tests in Durban on Boxing Day. 

Read more on:    proteas  |  quinton de kock  |  ab de villiers  |  cricket
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