Quinton de Kock has come full circle after scoring his maiden Test century against England at Centurion.
The wicketkeeper had an indifferent 2015, when he lost his place in the Test side for the tours to Bangladesh and India, but was subsequently brought back after Dane Vilas failed to impress.
De Kock’s troubles started at the World Cup where he was struggling for form during the group stages before scoring a fifty against Sri Lanka in the quarter finals.
He wa dropped from the Test and ODI team, Vilas taking over his duties in Bangladesh and India while Morne van Wyk took the gloves in the 50-over format. De Kock was sent to India with the South African A side and that is where he started to get his confidence and form back.
‘They [the selectors] basically told me to go score some runs,’ De Kock told the media after his hundred on the second day at Centurion.
‘I was in bad space after they dropped me even though I didn’t really care, to be fairly honest. I didn’t enjoy my cricket for a while after that, but life goes on. I just carried on working and things changed.
‘I started scoring runs and started enjoying my game again.’
De Kock is seen as the long-term solution to the wicketkeeping position so his hundred would have come as a relief to the selectors and team management, especially after he missed the third Test at the Wanderers due to a knee injury he sustained while walking his dogs.
His unbeaten 129 came off 128 balls as he took the attack to the England bowlers on Saturday to illustrate how dangerous he could be batting at No 7.
‘My approach kind of changed after we lost Temba,’ De Kock said. ‘I just decided to turn the heat up a little bit. If there was any width I was going to throw my hands at it and just try and score runs. I felt the English are very good bowlers, blocking people down, bowling in good areas so I was just trying to get them off their mark. That was the game plan from there.
‘It’s quite relieving [to score my first Test hundred]. I’m quite happy, but it’s just a start. Obviously I want to score a lot more and keep on playing a lot more Tests for the Proteas and always keep contributing.’