In his last years as an international cricketer, Boucher was not included in the ODI XIs, as the talismanic AB de Villiers kept wickets. De Kock came into the squad and immediately made an impact with his batting. Pushed up the order to open the batting, De Kock, made an instant impact making four ODI hundreds in his first 16 ODIs. What’s more three of those hundreds came in three back to back matches against India.
On his last trip to Australia in November 2014, De Kock ended the trip with another hundred, 107, at Sydney against the home team. But as he went back home, he suffered an ankle injury. He had to miss much of the home season against West Indies and returned for the final game of that five-match series, but could make just four.
The break affected De Kock so much that since his return, his scores have been the following: 4, 7,7, 12, 1 and 0. He received an absolute beauty from Pakistan’s Mohammad Irfan on Saturday at Eden Park, but apart from that he has looked absolutely in very poor form. But De Kock has the total support of his teammates. His opening partner, Hashim Amla, backs him completely. “Quinny is an unbelievably talented and hard-working player. Not many people see the amount of effort he puts in the nets,” said Amla.
There is a lot of talk about dropping De Kock and letting skipper AB de Villiers keep the wickets. But in January this year, coach Russell Domingo opposed to this idea. “He has always found keeping a lot more tiring in the one-day set-up than he does in Test match cricket. It is a big burden on him in one-day cricket in my opinion because of the keeping, the captaincy, being the so-called best batter in the world in one-day cricket, so there is a lot of responsibility on him for that,” said Domingo.
AB’s added responsibility of being a wicket-keeper has added balance to the South African Test squad. But having De Villiers as a wicket-keeper in all formats was not a long-term solution. Coach Domingo realised this and that is the reason De Kock was fast tracked into the XI.
“I prefer him (AB) not to keep in one-day cricket, there is no doubt about that. If he’s got to keep in the odd Test match then so be it. I don’t think it’s a long-term solution or long-term thing for us,” added Domingo.
In the ODI series before the World Cup, Morne van Wyk was brought back into the squad owing to De Kock’s injury. But De Kock was always the marked man for the job. “Everybody, myself, AB, everybody goes through a few games where you don’t get runs, and I’ve always seen it as a silver lining because we all know that he’s due runs, and I suppose on a personal level for him, when he does score runs he’ll appreciate it a lot more,” comforted Amla.
The support from his teammates will no doubt provide De Kock hope that good tidings are around the corner. “Everything has a benefit to it, and the fact that he’s not getting runs and he’s still managing to get some good totals on the board, I think it’s a nice situation to be in, and I’m sure and I know all have subtle beliefs that he’ll come good,” said Amla continuing his support for his partner, De Kock.