CAPE TOWN – A breath of fresh air is sweeping through South African cricket at the moment and Quinton de Kock is responsible for it. De Kock is the new Proteas ODI captain and is leading the national team in the T20I series against England.
The wicketkeeper/batsman succeeded Faf du Plessis, who was undeniably the leader of the Proteas across all formats for the past few years.
Du Plessis was brilliant during the early part of his tenure, guiding the Proteas to historic conquests in Australia and on home soil. He is also an enigmatic character who engages with the media on an intellectual level that endeared him to the Fourth Estate.
De Kock could not be more of a contrast. Media engagements are not De Kock’s favourite thing, as he tends to be quiet and introverted in front of the media.
Fortunately, cricket matches don’t get played in the media rooms of the world but on the field, where De Kock is excellent.
In the absence of retired legends such as Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, De Kock is South Africa’s lone global superstar batsman. With the gloves, he also has no peer.
But we are now witnessing a different side to the previously young and reckless De Kock. He is relishing the extra responsibility of leadership and has shown a natural feel for it. He is “streetwise” and, more importantly, doesn’t sweat the small stuff.
This is imperative for a young Proteas team as they feed off the energy of their new skipper. It was no more evident during the tense finish in East London on Wednesday evening when the home team edged over the line in dramatic fashion.
The way De Kock marshalled his troops during that frenetic period was excellent. He even slowed the game down to ensure each fielder was in exactly the precise position. His attention to detail was impressive.
The Proteas may be on to something refreshing in De Kock. Hopefully Cricket SA’s ongoing boardroom dramas don’t interfere with his free spirit.