JOHANNESBURG – He’s regarded as one of the finest spin-playing batsmen in South Africa.
But what is Quinton de Kock’s secret to success when facing off with the very best spin bowlers in the world?
The Proteas wicket-keeper said it’s more than just hard work that has elevated his game.
“There was a time where I found it extremely difficult to come up against spin as I mostly trained as an opening batter against pace,” De Kock said.
“I needed extra help and so two years ago, I designed a mat for myself that I hoped would help me improve my batting.”
The mat was just meant to help him, but when he noticed a vast improvement in his batting against spin bowlers, De Kock realised it could be beneficial to local cricket.
“Many players find spin difficult, including myself,” he said.
“After using the mat for months on end and seeing great improvements, I felt it would be great to give back to the cricketing community and make this mat available to all cricketers, professional and non-professional.”
Last week, De Kock launched his Spintechs mat, which was expected to revolutionise the way cricketers practice against spin.
Spintechs is a unique, specially designed mat that automatically spins the ball, enhancing the bounce and the speed of it. This allows a batsman or wicket-keeper to experience all the angles they could face in a match.
“The product was developed to help all batters and keepers play spin,” De Kock said.
The 2016 ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year was proud of the final product: “It wasn’t easy to get to what I had in mind for the mat.
“From the actual thoughts behind the design to the testing, I kept developing it until I was completely satisfied. It’s been an exciting journey.”
South African batsmen have for years struggled against top-class spinners, most notably on the spin-friendly pitches of the sub-continent.
De Kock said his new innovation may be the answer to the Proteas’ spin problems. “Cricket is a humbling sport and you need to constantly improve your game, no matter how experienced you are,” he added.
“My teammates think it’s a great innovation, and are just as excited as I am to use it.
“There are many great spin bowlers in the world, and the pitches in different conditions and environments all play a part.
“Hopefully, my innovation will help us deal with spinners from all over the world.”
The Proteas will face Bangladesh, a sub-continental team that has an abundance of quality spin bowlers, in two weeks’ time.
De Kock said that South Africa are able to turn around their fortunes after a disappointing tour to England last month.
“I personally feel like I am in great shape. I train very hard every day, as do the rest of the guys. I’m excited to play in front of the home crowd.
“As much as cricket is a team sport, it’s also a very individual sport and every player needs to be on top of his game.
“Hopefully we are able to give the home crowd something to cheer about when we face off against Bangladesh.”
Asked what he has made of the recent appointment of Ottis Gibson as the new Proteas coach, De Kock said: “I like to focus on my own game rather than on factors which are out of my control.”