It’s only for the interim - like all things in SA cricket are at the moment - with Du Plessis back in the saddle when the real business of Test cricket starts next month. But that’s still enough time for the anxiety to set in.
De Kock is definitely not a disciple of the Mike Brearley leadership school, where every decision is mulled over timeously, especially as the Proteas wicket-keeper described his last stand-in stint as “pretty cool” and that “I didn’t think too long about field positions. Captaincy isn’t exactly rocket science.”
It’s enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine, but perhaps more attention should be paid to a further line from De Kock where he has previously said: “I’m never going to be the head boy. I’m a little outside the box.”
Perhaps this “act on instinct” mantra is the shot in the arm the Proteas require, particularly after their disappointing World Cup campaign. New Proteas interim Team Director Enoch Nkwe certainly has full confidence that De Kock can capably fill the breach.
“We have a good leader here with me (De Kock),” Nkwe said upon the Proteas’ arrival in Dharamshala yesterday. “If you look at our captain, he has played a lot of cricket here in India.
“We know where Faf stands as our captain and as (a) player. He’s done great things for South African cricket. We also need to look at what the future could hold for us. We believe in Quinton’s leadership. I strongly believe that we have a good enough squad. We know the opposition are strong in their backyard, but we are here to win.”
For all of Nkwe’s belief, it will be a difficult task to replicate the T20 series win the last time the Proteas were in India. The core of the successful 2016 unit have either retired or been cast aside, which has left this Proteas team with a group of greenhorns for the three-match series starting on Sunday.