Proteas captain Quinton de Kock tosses the coin in the first T20 international against England. Picture: Backpagepix
JOHANNESBURG - Quinton de Kock: Captain, opening batsman and wicket-keeper, in two formats.

In the 50-over side, that leadership had him overseeing a very young squad against England.

In the T20 format, there are fewer youngsters but also the need to stitch some elderly statesman back into the squad - should they follow Graeme Smith’s request to avail themselves for selection by June - ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year.

That’s a pretty packed plate. Throw in the fact that in his last Test match, besides keeping, he also batted up the order at No 5, and, as the kids now say, “issa lot”.

Proteas head coach Mark Boucher says De Kock prefers it that way and given that Boucher said earlier this season that it wouldn’t be good for any team to have 11 Quinton de Kock types, perhaps he too thinks it’s good that De Kock is kept busy.

“Sometimes he sits in the dressing room in a Test match and he gets really irritated because he wants to be doing something all the time,” Boucher said.

Cricket SA, Boucher and Smith can’t ignore the fact that it is asking a heck of a lot the 27-year-old, who this season - along with Kagiso Rabada - has become the team’s most important player too.

There is, regardless of how ‘bored’ De Kock gets if he is not constantly involved in the game, the danger of burnout.

It may not emerge in the next 12 months, but given the 50-over World Cup is three years away, De Kock’s workload merits close monitoring.

In the background there are the talks between Smith and Faf du Plessis about the latter’s future.

If Du Plessis no longer captains the Test side, who will do that job? De Kock is an obvious candidate, and if he does get that job, is it long term or just for the next 12 months?

The Proteas can ill-afford De Kock missing matches long term either through burn out or injury.

The comparison Boucher tried to draw with Mahendra Singh Dhoni wasn’t the quite same in that Dhoni never opened the batting and in addition he had a lot of experienced players, especially batsmen able to bear the load for scoring runs, while this current South African side is very much being carried by De Kock.

Through all the talk about workload management for Du Plessis and Rabada - both currently on extended breaks as they miss the T20 series against England - nothing’s been mentioned about De Kock, who plays across all three formats, captaining in two of them, plus he keeps, which, as Boucher will tell you, is physically and mentally demanding (and he opens the batting in the white-ball format!).

De Kock will need a break soon.

Hopefully Cricket SA can see that. The last thing the Proteas want is De Kock missing matches.

@shockerhess

The Star