TELFORD VICE in Cape Town
QUINTON de Kock has heard it all before, and the last thing he wants to do is add to the noise.
This time that noise is about the Champions Trophy in England next month.
“I don’t want to say too much – I don’t want to jinx myself or jinx the team,” De Kock said.
“The Proteas have always been seen as favourites when they go into big tournaments.
“This time we don’t want to be that.
“We just want to be that team who go there and do our best.”
South Africa did that more often than not in 2016-17, winning 23 matches and losing only five across all formats.
Part of that success was winning 14 of their 16 one-day internationals, which would seem to bode well for the Champions Trophy.
It did for Imran Tahir, who has been central to many of South Africa’s victories and is the No. 1-ranked ODI and T20 bowler.
“We’ve been playing very good cricket, it’s just that on the day we need to deliver,” Tahir said.
“We’ve been doing that consistently.
“I know that when it comes to big events people talk about us, but I believe with this team we can change a lot of things.
“We’re hoping to give something really special to South Africa’s people.”
But De Kock, like many other South Africans, had been shot in this movie too many times before.
“We know we’ve got a lot of backing at the moment because of the season we’ve just had,” he said.
“People can say we’re going to win, but we hear that at every ICC (International Cricket Council) tournament.
“So we’re just going to take it game by game and not get too ahead of ourselves.”
Thing is, South Africa need to get ahead of themselves in another sense.
They have yet to reach a final after seven trips to the World Cup, five to the Champions Trophy and another five to the World T20.
Getting ahead of themselves, even by just one step, would represent progress.
Two steps forward would be a triumph, an end to the nightmare that has recurred every time South Africa try to take on the world.
But, like De Kock, you didn’t hear that here.