Quinton de Kock: Why India should be wary of him?
The talented wicket-keeper batsman has the ability to rally with the tail ala Gilchrist.
The baby faced assassin, as he is known, with the key word being ‘assassin’, Quinton de Kock has made giant strides in the last 2 years. He is already being labeled as the best wicketkeeper batsman in the post-Gilchrist era and many experts are of the opinion that he is actually technically better than the Australian legend.
After a sedate start to his test career in 2014, he exploded with the bat, first in One-day internationals and replicated that success in the test arena. Gone is the nervous gaze that accompanied him to and at the wicket, replaced by a confident and concentrated stare at the incoming bowler. Spectacular dives and quick glove work behind the stumps have become the order of the day, where once existed steady but unspectacular wicket-keeping skills. His breathtaking catches and fluent stroke play were one of the key features of one of South Africa’s most memorable triumphs in recent times – the series victory Down Under in 2016.
He is a combative cricketer, much in the mould of his predecessor Mark Boucher and trumps his countryman in the batting department. He will be eager to make amends against India, to compensate for his failure to deliver the last time these two teams met.
India will have well drawn out plans to combat the usual suspects in the mighty South Africa batting line up – Hashim Amla, Faf Du Plessis and AB de Villiers, apart from the two openers Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram. But India will do well not to under estimate the capability of this young and dynamic keeper-batsman; they will do so at their own peril. Coming in at no.6 or 7 (depending if SA play an extra batsman), de Kock can rally with the lower order and take the game away from India, in a contest where the momentum is sure to swing back and forth. He can counter attack much in the manner that Gilchrist did so famously on numerous occasions for Australia. In Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada, he will have more than able allies, with the first two already having Test 50s registered against their names. By providing the adequate support to de Kock, the quartet can be a real thorn in India’s flesh throughout the series. Add to that his quicksilver glove work and spectacular catching behind the wicket; India will have to be on their guard every time he’s on the field.
Quinton de Kock might be more 'Sangakkara-esque' than Gilchrist-like but already in his young career he has shown that his value and importance to his team is no less than either of his more illustrious predecessors. This might well be the series that sets him on the path to greatness and one day hopefully emulate the extraordinary feats of the gentlemen above.