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Ken Borland

Hungry De Kock frustrated by rain

Posted on September 02, 2022 by Ken

Quinton de Kock said after the third ODI between South Africa and England that it was “nice to get out in the middle and score some runs” in his trademark understated way, but given the hunger he showed to make it really count on Sunday, the fact that rain limited his fun to just 76 balls in 105 minutes would have frustrated the 29-year-old.

The left-hander made the most of his time at the crease though, overcoming a scratchy start against excellent English seam bowling to stroke a marvellous 92 not out before the match was washed out. It was his first major innings since his phenomenal 140 not out for the Lucknow Super Giants against the Kolkata Knight Riders on May 18 in his penultimate IPL game.

De Kock had only batted five more times since then, suffering a hand injury during the Proteas’ T20 series in India, so he was eager to make his mark at Headingley.

“It was obviously nice to get out there and score some runs, spend some time in the middle after time away from the game,” De Kock said after the series was shared 1-1 with world champions England.

“The pitch was providing a bit of swing and movement, so I just had to soak up the pressure at first, 50 overs is a long time, and make sure I remained strong in my positions.

“I wanted to make sure I had a strong defence and put away the bad balls, while keeping the ball on the ground for as long as possible. That was the game-plan.

“It was tricky facing three left-arm seamers swinging it around. But we thought that might happen in this series, so we did our prep to make sure we weren’t caught off-guard,” De Kock said.

The three-match series did provide at least one unexpected outcome, with star England all-rounder Ben Stokes’s decision to join the growing number of players who have retired from a format of the game catching many off-guard.

De Kock himself is strictly a white-ball player these days, and pleasingly is still clearly a top-class practitioner who makes batting look so easy on days like Sunday. Part of his secret is that he does not overcomplicate things and he said how much cricket players should be willing to play is purely a personal decision.

“It is starting to be tough for those players who play in all three formats, that is a lot of cricket and there are even more games now over the calendar year,” De Kock said.

“It’s an individual decision, if you feel you can do it then I’m happy for you, but others have taken it into their own hands. It’s a personal decision.

“If you’re still young then I think you should still play in all three formats. But as you get older, the body doesn’t co-operate as much. It’s just about managing things to prolong our careers.

“But there are still World Cups I want to play in and win, I still have a lot to play for. I always try to make an impact, that’s what we’re here to do, no matter how many formats you play,” De Kock said.

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