'De Kock can handle the pressure'
It’s no secret that the Proteas’ ODI captain, AB de Villiers, has suffered lower back problems since taking over the gloves from Mark Boucher.
Since then, the South African selectors have decided not to select a specialist wicketkeeper, opting instead for an extra specialist batsman at No 7 with De Villiers spending time behind the stumps.
Former Proteas opening batsman, Neil McKenzie, believes this is the correct decision.
“AB wants to do the job and if the selectors decide to go with a specialist ‘keeper, we’ll lose a batsman.”
He believes the current Lions wicketkeeper, Thami Tsolekile, is the correct choice to be on the plane to Australia.
“Thami has earned his place by playing consistently well over many years and deserves his spot in the current squad” McKenzie told supersport.com.
When asked about De Villiers keeping, McKenzie was quick to back the 28-year-old.
“AB loves new challenges, and keeping wicket is exactly that for him”, he said. “England is possibly the hardest place to keep wicket in the world due to the movement of the ball once it’s gone past the bat”.
The Lions veteran also believes that the workload of De Villiers – captaining, keeping and batting at No 5 – will not affect the longevity of his career.
“Gary (Kirsten) has played the game for many years and has great player management skills. He would not take risks with AB’s long-term future.”
The 36-year-old also believes his Lions teammate, Quinton de Kock, has a bright future ahead of him and could potentially be wearing the gloves for the Proteas in a few years.
De Kock has already represented the national side at under-19 level, and McKenzie believes the youngster is well equipped to handle the pressure that comes with expectations of higher honours.
“He trusts his game and plays every ball on its merit, regardless of who the bowler is. He has a fantastic mind-set and great ability.”
McKenzie does feel, however, that calls for De Kock's immediate elevation to the national side are premature, and that the 19-year-old must first “tick all the boxes in franchise cricket”.