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When Quinton de Kock smiles, the Proteas win

FILE - Quinton de Kock of South Africa celebrates his half century during the 5th and final T20I against the West Indies. Photo: Randy Brooks/AFP

FILE - Quinton de Kock of South Africa celebrates his half century during the 5th and final T20I against the West Indies. Photo: Randy Brooks/AFP

Published Jul 7, 2021


CAPE TOWN – Being Quinton de Kock must be a tough existence.

Everyday people look at him hoping that someone else will emerge. That the realisation that he’s been blessed with so much talent will manifest into some form of responsibility.

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That he won’t take things for granted. That he will ponder about life’s issues a bit more, give greater thought about a topic before commenting, and heaven forbid, be more socially aware.

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Fortunately, De Kock is smart enough to know that the people feeling that way are inadvertently projecting their own issues onto him.

The same way he approaches his batting is the way he takes on life too. He keeps things simple. And this should not be interpreted as stupid. There’s a fundamental difference.

When recently asked in the Caribbean what the key was to the Proteas’ maintaining their winning streak, De Kock replied: “The only way to maintain a winning streak is to keep winning, that is the only way, not by losing.”

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In one moment De Kock stripped away all the gameplans, formulas and strategies, and broke it down to its bare bones. While the majority of journalists in attendance would have wanted a more complicated and nuanced reply to build their stories around, that was ultimately not De Kock’s problem.

He played it as he saw it. And that’s when he’s at his best – just like he was in the West Indies this past month. There was an abandon, a joie de vivre about the way he went about his batting once again that saw "Quinny" return to being the world-class player we all know that he is.

Perhaps the languid style of the Caribbean islands and its people were a good fit. Maybe it was the rum punch. Or just the fact that he was once again able to free up his mind after spending months isolating in bio-bubbles around the world.

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ALSO READ: Five key areas where the T20 series in the West Indies was won

The answer probably lies hidden somewhere in between.

There are few players in the world that excel in all three formats as consistently as De Kock. Not even England’s maverick Ben Stokes can compare.

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It is a fact that is often overlooked, and the work-load that accompanies it, particularly for the fact that De Kock fronts up to the new ball, takes it behind the stumps, and has been burdened with the tri-factor of leadership in the recent past.

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The West Indies tour was an unparalleled success for Mark Boucher and the Proteas’ Men’s team. Their fragile confidence was restored a great deal through back-to-back series wins in both the Tests and T20I’s.

It was no coincidence that De Kock was named Player of the Test series for his 237 runs at an average of 118.50. And were it not for Tabraiz Shamsi’s miserliness with the spinning ball, De Kock would have been a worthy winner of the accolade in the T20I series too for his 255 runs at 51.00.

The Proteas’ Men’s team are smiling again. And they have De Kock to thank for that.


IOL Sport

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