Quinton de Kock has attributed his return to form over the last two months to a care-free approach which allowed him to regain confidence.
The wicketkeeper scored two ODI hundreds against India in South Africa’s 3-2 series win against them, an achievement that draws just a muted response from the left-hander: ‘It was nice to score a few runs against India. The series-win against them will always be remembered.’
De Kock didn’t take his axing well.
‘I lost interest, and I was in a bad space. I just went out and played care-free and it paid off. Then I gained self-confidence,’ De Kock said.
De Kock was dropped after averaging only 20.71 in the World Cup and subsequently also struggled in the ODIs against Bangladesh. His first-ball duck in the first Test against Bangladesh was the last straw and he was dropped.
The left-hander responded by striking three consecutive centuries for South Africa A in India. Two of them were blasted in the one-day series and one in the unofficial first Test.
De Kock says he made no tactical changes to his batting. That risk-free approach gained him a century, and it bolstered his self-confidence.
An area in which De Kock improved significantly was his play against spin. The series against Sri Lanka in 2013 dented his confidence and he returned to South Africa, working four hours per day for weeks to restore it.
A few discussions with AB de Villiers and Gary Kirsten about his approach to spin has also paid dividends.
De Kock is not in the Proteas’ Test frame at the moment with Dane Vilas being given a chance to make an impression, but De Kock isn’t giving up.
‘I would like to play Test cricket for South Africa. Right now, my focus is with South Africa. I want to score runs for the Titans and win four-day matches for them. I can only do what I can do, and leave the rest to the selectors.’
While he opens the batting in the 50-over format for the Proteas, De Kock has not much interest in doing the same in Test cricket. He said he opened the innings for the Highveld Lions almost by default after Alviro Petersen had broken a finger.
‘I would like to bat at number six or seven and embrace the challenges there against the old ball and against the second new ball.’