Cape Town – South Africa must guard against pushing young
batsman/wicketkeeper phenomenon Quinton de Kock too hard, too quickly, says
glove-work predecessor Mark Boucher.
The retired multiple record-holder in international cricket
was speaking at the launch on Monday of the Momentum Cricket Sixes, to take
place at Claremont Cricket Club here on December 14.
Boucher, national captain Graeme Smith and Cape Cobras and
former Proteas stalwart Justin Kemp are key figureheads of the 12-team
tournament, which offers social cricketers the chance to rub shoulders on the
field with renowned names like Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Smith from the
present, plus past icons Gary Kirsten, Jonty Rhodes and Shaun Pollock.
He told Sport24 he was “very happy with the current situation”
of the 20-year-old De Kock wearing the gloves for the Proteas in the two
one-day formats, and more seasoned superstar AB de Villiers doing the job at
“I was always the one who said I didn’t think AB should be
‘keeping in one-day cricket. I just don’t think it is necessary, especially
being the (ODI) captain; it is a tough job.
“It’s not that I’m saying he should never ‘keep in one-day
cricket again: if we get into a situation where maybe it’s a World Cup final
and we want to play an extra batsman and Quinny is out of form or something
like that, then you’ve still got that option.
“As far as I’m concerned only one man should be ‘keeping for
us in Test cricket at the moment and that is AB. He’s the one best equipped for
that job and also he gives you another option considering he both bats and
“If AB gets injured, then you’ve got someone like Thami (Tsolekile)
to still back him up in the Test arena, while in the one-day stuff Quinny’s
done a decent job so far.
“I’m always very wary of pushing a guy too early; already
there are people comparing him to Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Jacques
Kallis and the like. To them I’d say ‘just pump the brakes a bit; let’s give
the guy a fair chance’.
“He needs to really get used to international cricket before
you start making those comparisons. You can mess up a youngster’s career.
“We must be clever with him; not push too hard too early.
He’s still finding his feet and must be allowed to do so.
“Yes, he’s had a nice time, got a good hundred the other day
and some 20s and 30s ... he is going to make mistakes; he is very raw. But as
long as he’s in the right hands and is mentored the right way then he can
certainly go from strength to strength.”
Turning to more specifically technical issues, Boucher said:
“I can’t say he’s not a ‘natural’ wicketkeeper as such, because he’s got fine
hands, but I think his foot movement is not that natural for a ‘keeper. There
are areas he does need work on, and help with.
“But I really enjoyed his interview the other day where he
said he appreciated how much extra work he needed to put in. That was music to
my ears, because it is still a massive step up from franchise to international
“So I feel we’re doing it the right way at the moment. For
me the most important format of the game is Test cricket and the guy ‘keeping
there (De Villiers) must stay there for a long time if we’re to keep that No 1
spot. It does give us great extra options.”
Is De Kock coming through as a limited-overs wicketkeeper
significantly easing De Villiers’s burden?
“Well, a lot of people say ‘keeping in Test cricket must be
hard. I don’t actually think it is as hard as people think,” Boucher revealed.
“In one-day cricket you are down, up, running to the stumps repeatedly;
that can be very hard on the body. Yes, there will be some innings where you
are in the field a helluva long time, but I still feel one-day activity,
perhaps three times in a week, is more of a strain and requires more recovery
time for your body.
“So with AB now not ‘keeping in one-day cricket, it is
giving his back suitable time to recover; you’ll probably find he’s at his
happiest place at the moment with regards to his body, because he’s getting
that rest. He’s more than fit enough to the do the Test job of batting and
Boucher confirmed he would be willing to assist Cricket
South Africa and by extension De Kock should they require his valuable
“There has been talk, yes ... but Cricket South Africa have
had their own problems to sort out lately. I’ll just wait in the background and
if they want me, I’ll be glad to step in and assist.
“Ultimately Quinny’s got to feel comfortable working with me
as well. If he says he’s keen, then I’d obviously love to help him out.”
*Ticket pricing for
the Momentum Sixes starts at R600 upward. More information is available at www.cricketsixes.co.za