Walter keen to continue with enigmatic De Kock

South Africa’s Quinton de Kock hits a shot during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup 2024 Super Eight cricket match against England. | AFP

South Africa’s Quinton de Kock hits a shot during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup 2024 Super Eight cricket match against England. | AFP

Published Jul 5, 2024


JOHANNESBURG – Proteas white-ball coach Rob Walter is holding on to a “little glimmer of hope” that Quinton de Kock may still be available to the national team in the future.

De Kock, 31, retired from Test cricket in December 2021 and also hung up his One-Day International bat after last year’s World Cup in India.

It was expected that the recent T20 World Cup in the US and Caribbean would possibly be De Kock’s last competition in national team colours.

It certainly appeared that way after De Kock was left visibly emotional, which is rarely seen, after the defeat to India in the final at the Kensington Oval.

But Walter is hoping that the Proteas’ highest run-getter at this last T20 World Cup, with 243 runs at a strike rate of 140.46, may yet still have the desire to have one more crack at a world title left in him.

The next T20 World Cup is set to be staged in Sri Lanka and India in 2026.

“Quinny’s an enigma. He hasn’t officially called time. So we have that little glimmer of hope that sits in the background,” Walter told the media at Cricket SA’s Headquarters in Illovo on Thursday.

“Quinny has very high standards for himself and has dreamed about a World Cup win for a very long time.

“He’s had a number of knocks along the way, not least this last final, You would have seen that he was very emotional with it. Whether we see him again, time will tell.”

It was Walter that convinced De Kock to continue solely in the T20 format until this last World Cup after he wanted to quit the Proteas in its entirety last year.

A “best of both worlds” scenario was created for De Kock that allowed him to miss the T20I series against India last year to play in Australia’s Big Bash League, but still be available to play for the Proteas at major events.

The Proteas are due to face the West Indies in the Caribbean for a three-match T20I series next month.

But with De Kock not contracted to Cricket SA, he would not need to play that series.

Walter therefore feels there is no rush just yet to sit De Kock down to discuss his future and has instead adopted a patient approach.

“I’ve had no conversations with him,” Walter said.

“It wasn’t the right time after the final to have that conversation. So let me leave it at saying your guess is as good as mine.”

Walter does at least have the clarity that senior middle-order batter David Miller will continue playing international cricket after the 35-year-old posted a statement on social media.

“Contrary to reports, I have not retired from T20 international cricket. I will continue to be available for the Proteas. The best is yet to come.”

Walter’s next opportunity to mastermind the Proteas’ quest for silverware will come around next February in the ICC Champions Trophy.

He believes this will be another major test for his team.

“I think people underestimate the toughness of the Champions Trophy. For me, that’s as strong a competition as any,” Walter said.

“Hopefully we continue to grow as a side and just keep putting ourselves in a position where we can compete. I said last year after the 50-over World Cup, I genuinely believed that the semi-final would be the catalyst to us winning our first world trophy. And nothing’s changed. We probably believe that even stronger now.

“We’ve progressed, no doubt about that. This last World Cup, the team won small moments, which in the past, potentially, haven’t gone our way. There was huge resilience, we showed a large skill set and we encountered very different conditions from the start in New York to the back end of the competition so it showed great versatility as well. For me, the team is ever-growing. We’ve made strides, but by no means the finished article.”