Cape Town – Young Highveld Lions wicketkeeper/batsman Quinton de Kock will be eligible to make his one-day international debut for South Africa in the series opener against New Zealand at Boland Park on Saturday.
De Kock’s availability has been in doubt after the 20-year-old apparently shoved Cape Cobras opener Allister Gray during an altercation in their four-day match at Newlands last the weekend. The level of the offence, if found guilty at a disciplinary hearing, would see De Kock banned for two games, ruling him out of the first two ODIs.
The incident occurred during the same match in which Cobras captain Justin Ontong was accused of ball tampering. Both players were originally set to appear together before the disciplinary commissioner “as soon as possible”, but Cricket South Africa released a statement on Wednesday saying Ontong “is eligible to continue playing for his franchise pending the results of a ball test being carried out in Australia”. Ironically, CSA also named Ontong to lead the SA Invitational XI against Pakistan in the four-day tour opener at Buffalo Park at the end of the month.
There was no mention of De Kock, however, in the CSA statement, but it is likely that his hearing will only take place next week, allowing him to play in Paarl and Kimberley – the venue for the second ODI on Tuesday – too. The third and final match takes place at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom next Friday.
The CSA Disciplinary Commissioner, Professor Rian Cloete, has in his “sole discretion” the right to “determine the date, time and procedure for the hearing” under the terms of the CSA Code of Conduct.
Meanwhile, De Kock, who is highly regarded by the national selectors, apologised for his behaviour on Twitter yesterday. “Hay everyone I’m sure you have all heard the latest news ... and i just wanna say i am sorry for everything and I’m sorry to embarrass my team. I will make up and do everything i can to make things better,” he tweeted.
The Lions prodigy can certainly help “make things better” with a polished performance behind the stumps should he get the nod on Saturday. Captain and wicket-keeper AB de Villiers has been carrying a heavy workload recently since taking over the gloves in the Test side after Mark Boucher was forced to retire ahead of the England series midway through last year.
De Villiers has stated that he is committed to being the premier wicketkeeper/batsman in the longest format of the game, despite ongoing concerns over his chronically bad back. However, the limited-overs captain has been forced to take various “rest” periods recently.
This opened the way for De Kock to get his first taste of international action when he was part of a re-jigged Proteas T20 side under the leadership of captain Faf du Plessis and coach Russell Domingo.
Proteas ODI squad: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, Morné Morkel, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
SA Invitation XI (to face Pakistan): Justin Ontong (capt), Kyle Abbott, Cody Chetty, Ayabulela Gqamane, Simon Harmer, Beuran Hendricks, Davy Jacobs, Wayne Parnell, Andrew Puttick, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas. – Cape Times