Thursday, September 26, 2019

We are keeping Quinton down

Quinton de Kock is good at cricket. Everyone who plays cricket at an international level is good at cricket, but even in that hallowed territory, one can see that Quinton de Kock is exceptionally good at cricket. He boasts no obvious weakness, and there are very few good balls which he can't turn into boundary balls. He also happens to be, both on form and reputation, South Africa's best batsman, especially now that the great Hashim Amla has retired. This presents a quandary of sorts, because while de Kock's prodigious ability to take a game away from the opposition batting at 7 is not in question, the reality is more often than not, he has had to come in and repair some very creaky holes in the ship.

In the history of cricket, only one team has ever had their best batsman keep wicket. Andy Flower, the Zimabwean great, was the only man who managed this feat of endurance and focus. You could arguably place AB de Villiers on this shortlist, but he only kept for 23 Tests and his career was more than four times as long. He was a stop gap wicket-keeper. A great stop gap, but a stop gap nonetheless. The only other side which faced a similar conundrum was Sri Lanka with the great Kumar Sangakkara and they dropped the gloves from him permanently with exceptional results. No one has a higher average as a specialist batsman than Sangakkara, with the exception of Donald Bradman. Much like Kumar, de Kock's average as a wicket-keeper/batsman is hovering around 40. It would be arrogant to even hope that his average would float anywhere near Sangakkara's, but I imagine it would be easier for him to bat higher if he did not have the added weight of having to keep wicket. That alone would increase the potential he has to impact a game, because there would be more wickets left over, and thus more resources for him.

The only reason anyone would not want de Kock batting higher, is fear. Fear that he would lose his explosiveness. But the reality is Quinton de Kock is now a senior member of the team, and as such, it's time for him to take his place in the big boys club.

1 comment:

  1. I agree fully. Place him at 4 or 5 and let Klaasen keep wicket, while learning his trade in test cricket. He is also explosive and can also take the game away from a team. Imagine De Kock on a 100 and Klaasen coming in to bat. They can destroy a bowling attack together


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