The Proteas have become a far more effective side since Quinton de Kock relieved AB de Villiers of the wicketkeeping duties.
It’s pleasing to see the South African team getting it right. For a long time, it was believed that De Villiers could do it all – lead the ODI side, bat in the top order, and keep wicket – and yet, the decision to back De Kock as the team’s premier gloveman over the past few months has been beneficial for both individuals as well as the team as a whole.
De Kock has settled nicely at the top of the batting order. He’s had a good season to date, no matter what some critics may say about his recent run of form. De Kock scored 80no in the third ODI against New Zealand in Hamilton, his first 50 in six innings. However, his contributions in the earlier matches should not be discounted as insignificant.
De Kock has weighed in with some big innings over the past 12 months. On those occasions where he hasn’t cracked on to get 50 or 100, he has still managed to score 20 or 30 at a decent rate. That’s exactly what you want from your opener, to provide some impetus. In that respect, he has done the job.
As far as his wicketkeeping is concerned, it’s at a satisfactory standard for this level of cricket. I’d go as far to say that it’s on a par with the standard set by De Villiers when he was still wearing the gloves.
The big advantage of De Kock keeping wicket is that is allows De Villiers to focus on his pressing responsibilities. De Villiers has batted with more freedom over the past few months. It’s clear that he is a better player without the added pressure of keeping wicket. He’s an asset in the field, whether he’s saving runs through his own diving efforts or plotting the batsmen’s demise. Without the gloves, the Proteas captain has been allowed to concentrate on strategy a lot more. He’s been allowed to apply his fine cricketing brain.
It’s been a good period for South African cricket, especially in terms of the batting. Before the start of the season, I would have said that De Villiers and Hashim Amla are key to the Proteas’ success. While I still believe that South Africa will need to lean on these experienced players in the near future, it’s been pleasing to see so many others stepping up and making a statement. There are enough players in that formidable top six who can play the role of accumulator or aggressor according to the situation. This in turn takes the pressure off somebody like De Villiers, and allows him to express himself without fear of letting the side down.
The Proteas have settled on a good XI, and will have gained some confidence following the commanding showing in New Zealand. They will need to build on that performance over the coming weeks, though, as the Aussies will pose more of a challenge than the Kiwis.
Graeme Pollock played 23 Tests for South Africa, scoring 2256 runs at an average (60.97) that remains second only to Don Bradman’s. He was voted South Africa’s Player of the 20th century in 1999, and inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2009.
Due to a series of health problems that have impacted on his financial position, Pollock is now reaching out to fans in hope of some support. If you are able to contribute to his Trust in any way, please do not hesitate to call his agent Basil O’Hagan on 083 4124459 or make a deposit, however small, to the following Trust Fund.
Name of Account Holder: Rudolf Buys & Associates Trust
Name of Bank: Standard Bank
Account Number: 281 464 359
Branch: Fourways Crossing
Branch Code: 009 953
Type of Account: Trust Account
Ref: Mr G Pollock