Pressure is mounting on Proteas and their captain
CAPE TOWN – Quinton de Kock must be thinking how he got himself into this mess...
Only a couple of months ago, De Kock was a free-spirit. He played with freedom and gay abandon with the only responsibility of catching the ball behind the stumps and scoring runs at the top of the order.
He is still doing very well, in fact almost better than before, but now he walks around with the weight of the nation on his slight shoulders as captain of the Proteas in white-ball cricket.
His first couple of assignments haven’t gone according to plan with the Proteas losing both T20I series against England and Australia this summer, and only having a 1-1 drawn ODI series against England to show for their efforts.
It certainly wasn’t due to a lack of runs from De Kock.
The 27-year-old has been the highest run-scorer for the Proteas across all formats this season. He just hasn’t had the support from his teammates.
And to compound matters, De Kock now has to explain their failings on a regular basis as leader of the team.
“I’m still taking it in my stride. I’m still learning,” he said after the 97-run defeat to Australia. “There’s a lot of things that I didn’t see when I was just a normal player. Now I am seeing things and learning about the game and the thinking behind decisions.
“I am asking a lot of advice from Faf (du Plessis). I hope I can get better and put the results on the board.”
De Kock will also hope that his team get better, particularly at playing spin, with the ODI series looming.
South Africa only played left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi in the T20 series, while the Aussies’ spin twins Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa had great success.
It is likely the tourists will continue to employ two spinners, particularly with the first ODI set for Boland Park in Paarl tomorrow.
“I don’t think it’s a technical thing. It can boil down to situations in the game. Or it could also be a confidence thing, I am not sure,” De Kock said.
“I am not in the other batsmen’s minds. We’ve got some really good players of spin. But in saying that, their two spinners bowled really well. They didn’t give much away.”
Equally, this group of players will need to find a way to be more consistent.
The home international season has formed a pattern with South Africa winning the first game of the series before falling away.
Against Australia, they fought back to win the second game but then lost their path in the series decider once again.
“It wasn’t good enough doing it twice in one series but we’ve got to have a good look at ourselves and ask some honest questions,” said De Kock. “In this series we played one decent game and then obviously the other two are just a disappointment.
“It’s not really the way we want to go about things. When we chatted, we had an honest conversation about fighting back. We know they are a really strong team. When they are on top, they are hard to stop.
“We spoke about not giving them a sniff. They got a sniff and rode the wave.”
Proteas batsman Temba Bavuma is expected to be fit for tomorrow’s opening ODI after missing the entire T20 series against the Aussies with a hamstring strain.@ZaahierAdams