'We'll continue to shine the ball,' says De Kock amid coronavirus scare
CAPE TOWN – Proteas captains have been in trouble before for the methods used to shine the ball, but limited-over skipper Quinton de Kock says his team will continue to apply saliva on the ball on their tour of India.
De Kock was, of course, not referring to any artificial methods but rather the potential threat of spreading the coronovirus which had initially placed South Africa's three-match ODI series in jeopardy.
It was only after a risk assessment was done that Cricket SA agreed to continue with the tour. CSA's chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra has also accompanied the team to India as a precautionary measure.
"Obviously with the coronovirus, we understand what's going on. Personal hygiene is a big thing. Wash your hands, where you cough and be aware of what you touch,” De Kock said.
“There's some fine lines, but we have sat down and it seems like both teams are healthy. We've been tested on our way in here, so I'll think we'll shine the ball."
It’s match day eve and the boys are looking on point 🔥👌💪🇿🇦🏏. The weather is a different story altogether 🥶☔️ but onwards we go! We’re all looking forward to #INDvSA. Catch the boys in green & gold live on SuperSport 2 at 09:30 SAST. #ProteaFire pic.twitter.com/QGU4N2NDMY— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 11, 2020
South Africa welcome back their premier ball shiner and former captain Faf du Plessis, along with Rassie van der Dussen, for this series. After being relieved from his leadership duties after the England series, Du Plessis was rested for the ODI leg of the Australian incoming tour to recharge the batteries for the year ahead.
The 35-year-old, though, remains one of South Africa’s premier limited-overs batsmen and his experience of touring India every year for the best part of the last decade will be invaluable to a relatively greenhorn Proteas ODI squad.
And just like Proteas coach Mark Boucher, who recently placed a premium on Du Plessis’ presence in the touring party, De Kock has come out in full support of his predecessor.
“Faf comes back plays a big role for us from a leadership point of view. He is here to help a lot of the younger guys in the team. He still adds a lot of value to us. It’s great to have him around. His experience will be a big help for this series.
“We understand that we coming here with a very inexperienced side in these conditions. That’s why it is very important that we have guys like myself, Faf and David Miller to guide these youngsters along.”
Thursday’s series opener in Dharamsala will certainly be an eye opener for the likes of rookie batsmen Jon-Jon Smuts and Kyle Verreynne. Although both have previously been to India on SA “A” tours and Cricket SA spin camps, the sheer volume of people inside the picturesque venue located on the slopes of the Himalayas will create an electric atmosphere they have unlikely experienced before.
The bowling unit South Africa will rely on is equally raw, particularly with Kagiso Rabada being rested and Dale Steyn not available for ODI’s any longer.
At least Lungi Ngidi and Beuran Hendricks have Indian Premier League and Anrich Nortje Test experience respectively, but for the likes of Lutho Sipamla it could be a rude awakening.
De Kock has shown though that he does not fear the might of India after leading a similar youthful group to a credible 1-1 draw in last year’s T20 International series. A similar result would be most welcoming and that will largely be dependent on how South Africa start on Thursday to settle all the nerves.
SQUADS FOR THE 1ST ODI
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (C), Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Janneman Malan, JJ Smuts, George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kyle Verreynne, Heinrich Klaasen, Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Anrich Nortje, Keshav Maharaj.
India: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Lokesh Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav.
Start: 10am (SA time) TV: ss2