The Cricketer
Owen Riley Owen Riley

I WANT TO BAT HIGHER – QUINTON DE KOCK

South Africa gloveman looks ahead to Trent Bridge

Quinton de Kock has told The Cricketer he wants to bat higher up the order for South Africa in Test cricket.

Speaking ahead of the Trent Bridge Test, de Kock said, “obviously I would like to bat higher, but the team does come first.”

The wicketkeeper-batsman unleashed his talent in front of the Lord’s crowd with a 36-ball fifty, he is a luxury batting at No.7 and the Adam Gilchrist comparisons are irresistible.

At this stage in his career (20 Tests), de Kock’s numbers are very similar to those of the Aussie gloveman:

  • Adam Gilchrist: 1,290 runs @ 53.75, SR 78.75, three hundreds; 84 catches, six stumpings.
  • Quinton De Kock: 1,402 runs @ 50.07, SR 72.41, three hundreds; 82 catches, six stumpings.

One stark difference, however, is that Church had plonked in front of him, a top six of Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh and Damien Martyn. De Kock, does not.

With a top six that is not firing, and is lacking a certain AB de Villiers, where does de Kock want to bat?

De Kock and Gilchrist after 20 Test matches

“Obviously I would like to bat a little bit higher, but I look at the team first. I’ve never really batted higher in Test cricket (de Kock has opened in one Test, against New Zealand, scoring 82 & 50).

“In four-day cricket I have opened the batting but I didn’t keep, now I am keeping, it doesn’t help. I could end up keeping for 180 overs then have to go and open. I still end up scoring runs on top of it - I’m going to be one of the fitter guys in the cricketing world, if not the fittest guy in cricket! It’s a large workload on me, we’ll have to see how things go.”

De Kock admits South Africa were hurting after the 211-run defeat at Lord’s, but doesn’t think the gulf in class between the two teams is as great as the score suggests.

“It was disappointing, but going through those four days we thought we were close to England’s breaking point. We just needed to change the momentum, because of Rooty they got to that score and one or two key guys in the team chipped in. If we took our early chances we could have bowled them out for 250 and it could have been a game-changer, that’s just how cricket is.

De Kock discusses the batting order

“Through the whole four days we thought we had a chance. We were confident going into the final innings, we thought we had a chance of chasing it down because we had so much time to bat. Unfortunately our collapse on the last day wasn’t the best way to go down. The guys were sore, we were hurt.”

If South Africa are to level the series at Trent Bridge, they will have to do so without Kagiso Rabada who will serve his one-match ban.

“Obviously to lose a guy like KG is not the best thing to happen, he is one of the best bowlers in the world, especially in Test cricket. He was doing what he could to win us the game at Lord’s, but he has been canned for one game. It’s unfortunate, but you can’t blame the players in the heat of the moment, it happens.

“We can be sure when he comes back he will be fit and firing to take on those last two games. He will make our team stronger. But saying that, Duanne, Chris, Andile, those three have been training up until this point, waiting for their opportunity, I’m sure they will take that with both hands."

The match will see the return of Faf du Plessis, so South Africa will be without their express bowler but will at least be grateful for the return of their leader who should also add some steel to the top five.

“Faf adds a lot of value to our team, he is our captain, brings leadership back and adds to the batting team as well, he is someone you need on your team.”