De Kock, injured or not, SA's biggest World Cup weapon

2019-03-14 14:00
Quinton de Kock (Gallo)
Quinton de Kock (Gallo)

Cape Town - Quinton de Kock, in the form of his life, is South Africa's biggest weapon heading into the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England. 

Five successive half-centuries at the top of the Proteas order have been a firm reminder of exactly that. 

The sporting clichés will tell you that no one man is bigger than the team and that the focus should never be on individuals, but in De Kock the Proteas have a batsman capable of destroying any bowling attack in world cricket. 

We know, because we have seen it before. 

This Sri Lankan attack is admittedly tame in comparison to others that the Proteas must combat in England, but stunning cricket shots are still stunning cricket shots, and De Kock has played them in abundance over the course of this series. 

There remains uncertainty as to who De Kock's opening partner will be at the World Cup with Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram all in that conversation, but Proteas management can at least take heart in the knowledge that their explosive game-changer at the top of the order is preparing in the best way possible. 

De Kock is feasting, and when he is in this mood there are few better players in white-ball cricket. 

De Kock hits good balls to parts of the ground that sometimes don't make sense, but he can do that because he picks up length so quickly.

As a result, he manipulates fields, and his natural aggression means that the longer he bats for, the more the game gets away from the opposition.

South Africa's bowling, and particularly their fast bowling, is considered their major strength with Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi expected to lead the charge. 

When one factors in the class of spinner Imran Tahir, then Proteas supporters can feel largely comfortable about their ability to curtail opposing batting line-ups. 

It is in the batting department, though, where there have been some understandable concerns. 

Amla is out of form and out of the squad currently because of personal reasons, Markram can't convert his starts into scores of substance, Hendricks' form has also dipped while JP Duminy has only just returned to the side after a lengthy injury. 

Rassie van der Dussen looks the part but, with just 8 ODIs to his name, is very green at international level. 

Skipper Faf du Plessis is the one banker in the middle order right now and is in seriously good touch. His shifting of gears depending on the game situation will be crucial.

De Kock, though, is in a different class. 

It will obviously take a huge team effort if the Proteas get all the way through to the final on July 14, but in De Kock they have a special individual who can win games by himself on his day. 

He is a once-in-a-generation player and, in every way, South Africa's answer to Virat Kohli. 

If De Kock clicks, then the Proteas will be a very difficult side to tie down. 

There is a slight concern over a finger injury that has seen him hand the wicketkeeping duties to David Miller during the last two ODIs, but it seems nothing more than precautionary.

The Proteas are unlikely to take a back-up wicketkeeper to the World Cup, and if De Kock does get injured during the tournament then they will need somebody else to step up and take the gloves. 

De Kock would be picked as a batsman if he had one leg, and because of that the Proteas will never be able to swap him out of the squad for a replacement wicketkeeper if his finger injury got worse during the competition. 

Miller, based on what we have seen, is a competent enough stop-gap should it get to that. 

Injured or not, or keeping or not, De Kock holds the key to South Africa being able to set and chase sizeable totals in England. 

In 105 ODIs, he has gone past 5035 times.

De Kock raises his bat once every three innings, and if he does that in the games that matter most later this year, then the Proteas will have taken a significant step towards breaking their World Cup drought. 

Read more on:    proteas  |  quinton de kock  |  cricket


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