De Kock has not been a regular starter at the IPL since his debut season a decade ago in 2013, with the dynamic opening batter/wicket-keeper playing integral roles for previous teams Royal Challengers Bangalore and five-time IPL Champions Mumbai Indians before moving to Lucknow Super Giants last season.
He had an immediate impact at LSG, forming a potent opening combination with captain KL Rahul that drove the team all the way to the playoffs last year.
De Kock’s contribution was immense with the left-hander scoring 508 runs at an average of 36.28 and a strike rate of 148.97, including a career-best 140 not out.
A vital fifty 👌— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 20, 2023
A crucial win 😎
Birthday celebrations done right 🎂🥳
Kyle Mayers & @nicholas_47 relive @LucknowIPL's delightful away win in Jaipur 👌👌
Full Interview 🎥🔽 #TATAIPL | #RRvLSG https://t.co/TlI8PrCTmC pic.twitter.com/XhffSktWco
However, due to international commitments this season with the Proteas having to conclude their all-important ODI series against the Netherlands to gain automatic ICC World Cup qualification, De Kock missed a couple of matches at the start of this season’s IPL.
Ironically, his place at the top of the order was taken by his Betway SA20 opening partner Kyle Mayers, and the West Indian blazed two half-centuries in his absence.
Lucknow Super Giants coach Andy Flower has since kept faith with Mayers, who incidentally struck his third fifty on Wednesday evening to drive LSG to a 10-run victory over Rajasthan Royals.
This has meant that De Kock has spent an extended period in the dugout with a substitutes bib on, which he admits has taken getting used to, but is not overly fazed by the current situation.
"It's been quite relaxed," De Kock told Star Sports. "I'm not quite used to being on the side for so long but it's all good - the team's doing really well so I guess that's the most important thing.
"It's been chilled. I've made a couple more friends sitting on the side, learned a lot more with the boys and it's been fun watching the guys."
The 30-year-old has traditionally been a player that relies on his natural talent, and not a fan-favourite of strict training regimes, but it seems the time on the sidelines may be a blessing in disguise for the Proteas, especially with 2023 being a World Cup year.
"Put it this way: I don't think I've gymed, run and practised as much as I have in the last two weeks in my whole career," de Kock said.
A further matter compounding De Kock’s recall has been the prolific form of West Indian wicket-keeper Nicholas Pooran as a middle-order “finisher”. The former Windies T20 skipper made another telling contribution on Wednesday evening with 29 off 20 balls.
LSG skipper KL Rahul sympathises with De Kock, but that unfortunately the situation at the moment.
"It's very unfortunate that someone like Quinton has to sit out," he said.
"But unfortunately, there are only four foreign players [per XI] that can play in this competition.
"He'll just have to wait for some more time. Kyle is doing really well. It's a bit unfortunate. You feel bad. I've enjoyed playing and enjoyed opening with Quinton, but for now, he's still not playing."