Quinton de Kock will be an integral part of the Proteas as they head to the World Cup. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
For one brief moment in Hyderabad on Sunday, it looked like Quinton de Kock had cost his team, the Mumbai Indians, the IPL title.

The magnificent Jasprit Bumrah had conceded five runs off the first five balls off the penultimate over of the match and it appeared he’d be leaving a double figure tally to be defended in the final over until De Kock inexplicably let the last ball of the over - a pacy but otherwise nondescript back of a length delivery - go through his hands to the boundary for four byes.

“Quinton de Kock, what have you done?” exclaimed Ian Bishop in the commentary box.

Bumrah was good enough to put an arm around De Kock’s shoulders and smile. Lasith Malinga bowled a stunning last over to seal a one run win and De Kock’s error would hold no significance.

What was crucial was his part in running out Shane Watson in the final over. The broad-shouldered Australian had bashed the Chennai Super Kings back into the game with a bruising innings of 80 off only 89 balls. De Kock collected a wide throw from the boundary and executed a ‘scrumhalf-style’ dive to usher the ball onto the stumps with Watson short of his ground.

It would have been cruel on De Kock had his error in the 19th over led to Mumbai losing. He was a hugely important cog in their successful run to a fourth IPL title, both with the bat and from behind the stumps.

De Kock was one of only five players with an aggregate of over 500 runs in the tournament. His final tally of 529 runs included four half-centuries.

Perhaps, most encouragingly, was the value the Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma placed in De Kock’s opinion about tactics as he often consulted the keeper about bowlers and field placing. It’s not a side of De Kock with which many South African viewers are familiar although inside the Proteas change room his input is hugely valued.

He did serve as captain for a couple of games in Sri Lanka last year and of course has leadership knowledge from his time with the SA Under-19s, so its not an area he is unfamiliar with nor is dispensing advice to Faf du Plessis and Co.

The selectors will, however, be wary of burdening him with too much on the batting front. It must be hoped that Hashim Amla, who is working closely with batting coach Dale Benkenstein, can find form, while Aiden Markram - who starred in a short stint for Hampshire recently - retains his good form.

De Kock, Du Plessis and Imran Tahir, who finished as the leading wicket-taker in this year’s IPL, all rejoined the Proteas squad in Cape Town yesterday night following the final.

The Proteas will start their week long training camp in the Mother City with some team building exercises before heading to the High Performance Centre in Tshwane for specific on field strategy sessions.

@shockerhess


The Star

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