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World Cup 2023: Tough test against Team India? South Africa's Quinton de Kock says simple is best

Proteas have come up with a kind of cricket that has been far better in terms of quality as well as seriousness than what England and Sri Lanka, in particular, could put up against India

A Staff Reporter Calcutta Published 04.11.23, 07:43 AM
Quinton de Kock duringthe World Cup.

Quinton de Kock duringthe World Cup. PTI picture

Six centuries with an average of 56.42 reflects how successful Quinton de Kock has been against India in ODI cricket.

In the ongoing World Cup, the opener-cum-keeper has set the tone for South Africa with his prolific run-scoring, having equalled former Sri Lanka captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara with four centuries in an edition of the 50-over showpiece.


Without doubt, De Kock’s form together with the solidity and aggression he provides at the top of the order will remain key for South Africa going forward in this World Cup. But Sunday at Eden
Gardens would be De Kock’s stiffest test as he comes across a bowling attack not just rich in pace and spin, but that has also been demolishing opponents lately.

Focus on the ‘known’

For De Kock, South Africa should concentrate on tuning in mentally, stick to what has been working for them in the competition and not dwell further than that.

“I think that’s what we’ve been focusing on in every game,” De Kock told a section of the South African media on Friday.

The Proteas had reached Calcutta on Thursday and took a day off on Friday, not training at the Eden as had been scheduled previously.

“Right from the very first game we played (against Sri Lanka in New Delhi), we’re trying to be the best the Proteas team can be. But obviously yeah, we’ve got a big game on Sunday. So, we’ll sit down and do our usual processes as we do before every game.

“From a strategic point of view, we’ll have a look at the Indian team and find a way on how we can beat them. Of course, they are a strong unit, which makes it a bigger game,” De Kock said.

Obviously, the Proteas have come up with a kind of cricket that has been far better in terms of quality as well as seriousness than what England and Sri Lanka, in particular, could put up against India. Barring the lone slip-up against the Netherlands in Dharamsala, De Kock and his teammates have been consistent and were able to register comprehensive victories and more importantly, delivered under pressure on most occasions.

What actually has clicked so far in this World Cup for the South Africans? “Playing good cricket at the moment. It’s been about sti­cking to what we know we are doing, so we just need to carry on doing so and not look too far ahead,” De Kock said.

“We’ve just taken it game by game, kept things very simple and not tried to overthink things or reinvent the wheel, and just did the simple things really well. I think these are the key aspects that have made us quite successful so far,” he emphasised.

All said and done, India will be South Africa’s toughest nut to crack. And if they do manage to crack that code, the Proteas should certainly be considered as one of the top contenders for the Cup.

‘Strange things’

De Kock didn’t mince any words to repeat that this World Cup would be his last ODI assignment for South Africa. However, there was a “you never know” phrase that he added to it.

“I’m set on my decision. It’s the end of my 50-over career. There have been one or two words said to me about it (rethinking the ODI retirement), but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

“At this point, I don’t foresee it happening. But you never know. Strange things do happen in life. It could be a possibility, but I don’t think so,” he said.

The 30-year-old has full faith in the youngsters who could go on to be his prospective replacement. “There are some good youngsters coming through who would probably be taking my space as soon as I leave. “I don’t think I will be coming through again, but you never know,” he said.

With this World Cup being his ODI swansong, De Kock is making sure to give it his all. “It’s my last one, so I am
just trying to give it my all and trying to help out everyone I can so that we go on to lift the Cup.”

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