Opportunity knocks for De Kock
Generally, cricket teams get a choice between at least a couple of individuals when they try to fill a void that has been left by a player that retires or when they decide to change their strategy.
There is usually a key differential between the candidates which clinches it for whoever is selected and while there may be some who prefer the one who lost out, they too can pinpoint why.
In the case of the wicketkeeping position for the Proteas, the situation has not been as simple and it certainly has not been dealt with in the best way possible.
While many may say talking about AB de Villiers and his keeping is tantamount to flogging a dead horse, I reckon that there is still much to be sorted out with regard to it.
That he will keep in test matches is now no longer under question as he has shown that he is able to perform as he always has with the bat despite the added responsibility. It took him a while to get the runs needed to persuade the detractors, but he now seems to have come to terms with the role.
The selection of Quinton de Kock in the one day international squad is a continuation with the experiment of the T20s and in my mind a good one at that. Yes, there are those who might feel that others are hard done by, but it must be accepted that in sport being in the right place at the right time counts for a whole lot.
At a time when De Villiers needs to palm off some of the keeping work, this young fellow De Kock has been spoken about as the one who can be moulded into exactly what South Africa need as a wicketkeeper.
In the minds of some, his youth works against him as there is the school of thought that says rushing a youngster into the highest level could spoil him for good, while others say that it is the best time as he will play freely as he is untainted and raw. They say it worth it to give him a go because if he comes off then he’ll be a gem; it is a big and tough call.
During the T20 internationals against New Zealand, De Kock was inconspicuous behind the stumps and seemed to go about his work competently enough. It is his keeping that I speak about as this is what will be under much scrutiny at this stage when many are discussing the “AB as a wicketkeeper issue”.
He will be sure to get his chance because of the need to balance De Villiers’s workload and what De Kock needs to show in these times is competence behind the stumps.
The side and the selectors need to be confident that the straight forward scenarios will be taken care of because De Kock is able to concentrate through the 50 overs that the Proteas must field in one-dayers. His talent with the bat has brought him to prominence and to the forefront of many minds, but it would be rather unfortunate if he was then a liability with the keeping gloves on.
As AB, the coaching staff and the selectors try to work out just how much is sufficient workload for the Proteas ODI captain, he may well share the limited overs glove duties with the young De Kock.
It is not ideal for De Villiers to give away keeping in both short forms of the game as he must stay “in the groove” but it makes sense for him to keep either in T20s or ODIs.
Just which way the situation will pan out shall be seen soon enough.