Quinton de Kock’s struggles with the bat were reflected by the ICC’s latest Test rankings, which dropped him seven places to 27th.
The lively wicketkeeper-batsman was but a shadow of his former self, scoring just 71 runs across six innings, 43 of which came in the first innings of the first Test. Just 28 runs came from the next five innings, which included two first-ball ducks.
He still retains the support of his captain, Faf du Plessis, who said: ‘We all go through lean patches. I think the white ball is coming at a good time for Quinny, it will unshackle him,’ a reference to the six-match ODI series against India that starts in Durban on Thursday.
‘With Quinny, he’s a personality that doesn’t think too much about technical stuff. He’s a free spirit, X-factor player,’ Du Plessis added. ‘For him, it is just confidence. As soon as he gets one innings where he’s hitting the ball in the middle again, he’ll just jump straight back on to that boat of relaxing and just playing his game.
‘It’s very important that you don’t try to change the way he plays, because if you start talking from a technical point of view to him – he’s never played the game like that.’
Aiden Markram was another to be punished by the ratings: he fell 10 places to 48, despite his knock of 94 in the second Test – a significant contribution to his 140 runs in six innings. Du Plessis fell two to 14th.
There was better news for third-Test hero Dean Elgar, who rose two places to 12, and Hashim Amla, up one to seventh.
Elgar’s magnificent, unbeaten stand of 86 made him the first South African in history to carry his bat twice in Test cricket. He did it first in 2015, when he scored 118* in South Africa’s innings of 214 against England in Durban.
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There is no change in the top five of the rankings for Test bowlers as James Anderson comfortably leads Kagiso Rabada, Ravindra Jadeja, Josh Hazlewood and Ravichandran Ashwin.
But Morne Morkel climbed back into the top 10, rising two places to No 9.
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images