Quinton de Kock insists Test captaincy is only for the short term

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CAPE TOWN – Quinton de Kock did some mulling over whether to add the Test captaincy to his already heavy workload, but eventually did so, with the understanding it was only for the short-term.

When he was made skipper of the ODI and T20 teams earlier this year,

Cricket SA’s Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith and the team’s head coach, Mark Boucher commented that they wouldn’t ask him to lead the Test team – citing De Kock’s already long list of responsibilities as reasons.

However with South Africa prioritising the limited overs formats in the next few years and not likely to play many Test matches, De Kock was asked to handle one more role.

“When they called me I understood the situation and where they were coming from,” he said. “I didn’t accept it immediately, I thought about it… but it is only for this season, it’s not a long term thing.”

Besides captaining the two limited overs sides, De Kock opens the batting in those formats, is wicket-keeper and is also, right now, arguably the team’s best batsman in Test cricket. He’ll continue to don the wicketkeeping gloves for the two Tests against Sri Lanka, but it was noteworthy, that he stated on Monday he wasn’t going to keep in the ODI series against England, had that series taken place.

The national selection convenor, Victor Mpitsang when announcing De Kock as the new Test captain, said there currently is no obvious leader in the Proteas team. He and the coaching staff want to build a strong “leadership culture,”within the team from which they hope a captain will emerge.

“It’s more for when we get someone who puts up their hand as a leader, and can take over,” said De Kock. “The guys are looking for a long term leadership role (for the Test side), I won’t be doing that unfortunately. I’ve said this in the past, it is a lot on my plate, but I’m happy to do it, just for now, until certain things happen.”

After the two Tests against Sri Lanka, South Africa is scheduled to tour Pakistan and play two Tests there and then is supposed to face Australia in three Tests here in February/March next year. No other Tests are scheduled although the tour to West Indies which was postponed earlier this year, needs to be fitted back into the calendar at some point.

Given South Africa’s poor recent record in the Test format, it’s unlikely the Proteas will challenge for a spot in the ICC World Test Championship final (if that event even takes place), but De Kock is still keen that the players produce performances that will allow the selectors to create stability in the Test side.

“We want to be aggressive, we want to throw the first punch, In the past we’ve allowed other teams to throw the first punch, so we want to get better there. We want to be clever, aggressive and streetwise.”

“There are young guys here that need to learn and learn fast,” De Kock remarked on Monday.

“When I compare our team to the rest of world cricket; if you (look at) Australia, India or England, those guys’ teams are sorted, they’re solid in their line-ups. We are young, but we need the younger players to come through and learn fast so that we can have a structured team. That’s what I hope for for this season.”

@shockerhess

IOL Sport

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