De Kock: doer, talker, thinker

Times Media


TELFORD VICE in Johannesburg

SOME talk. Others think. Still others do. Happily for South Africa’s team and their supporters, Quinton de Kock is among the latter.

His doing earned him five major prizes at Cricket South Africa’s awards function in Johannesburg on Saturday.

De Kock was named the “SA Cricketer of the Year”, the “Test Cricketer of the Year”, the “ODI Cricketer of the Year”, the “SA Players’ Player of the Year”, and the “SA Fans’ Player of the Year”.

So, how did all that make him feel?

“Dunno,” De Kock said more than once as the applause kept rising and the confetti kept falling.

There is much to respect and admire about the unvarnished honesty of a man who understands that his role in the grand old game is to hit the ball as hard and far as he can. That’s when he’s not trying to catch everything in sight.

Not for De Kock the wearying warbling of those who have learnt to talk a lot while saying nothing.

Instead, he says it all with a bat that brought him 1731 runs – four centuries among them – at 50.91 in 35 innings across all formats last season.

Behind the stumps he became a low-flying threat to snare any edge – taking 67 catches, several of them spectacular – and a seamless snaffler of stumpings – five.

He  also took great strides towards mastering the fluidity of movement and surefooted anticipation required to earn wicketkeepers’ most valuable attribute: going unnoticed.

So, how did all that make him feel?

“I’m slowly growing up, I guess, and getting more mature about my game – just becoming cleverer with the way I do things, the way I prepare for games,” De Kock said.

“The older I get, I’m sure, the more mature I’ll get.”

Did he put stock in learning his crafts behind and in front of the stumps, or was he a do first, think later – or not at all – kind of player?

“I feel that I am learning but I don’t know as much as a lot of the other players,” De Kock said.

“I’m the type of guy, you can tell me what to do but I need to do it for myself – for me to actually experience it and learn from those mistakes myself.

“Once that happens I know I’ll grow.

“I’m a fairly fast learner – well, I think I am – but we’ll see next season.”

Certainly, it would seem he has learnt a lot about glovemanship in the past year.

“To be honest I didn’t pay much attention to my ’keeping this season,” De Kock said.

“I don’t know what happened – somehow the catches just stuck. I guess it was just my year.

“I really focused on getting my batting ability much higher, knowing that in the next couple of years the older guys will start falling out and we will have to start replacing them, and I’m going to have to start playing more of a senior role in the team.”

Could it be that the confidence that fuels his batting has rubbed off on his ’keeping?

“I’m in a good position, I can see the wicket, and I feel I can adapt quicker to how things will pan out,” De Kock said.

“I think the ’keeping does help the batting.

“But I’m not too sure about the batting helping the ’keeping.”

Not a talker? Tell that to someone else.

Not a thinker? Think again.

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