AB de Villiers believes he could be the best test batter in the world and he certainly aspires for the captaincy of the Proteas once Graeme Smith parts with it. Smith’s immigrating to England to captain Surrey and to get the missus closer to her family in Ireland suggests that AB’s captaincy prayers might be answered sooner than expected. It will not be in the interest of the Proteas if AB is captain, a frontline batter and the keeper. Subsequently AB expressed the desire to part with the gloves after the tour Down under.
So then, who, if not AB, is earmarked as the next long-term and regular wicket-keeper to succeed Mark Boucher in this capacity?
Heino Kuhn and Dane Vilas are the popular choices but the selectors are not convinced. The fact that Thami Tsolekile, at the age of 32 and rapidly closing in on the twilight years his career was preferred as the reserve keeper in England and Australia indicates that the selectors have someone else in mind.
It is not hard to guess who.
Quinton de Kock burst onto the scene in a manner that only the very best does. He announced himself in the way Graeme Pollock, Darryll Cullinan and Jacques Kallis did.
De Kock, currently the understudy of Thami in the Gauteng based Lions team, is a spectacular and prolific run scorer that could follow in the footsteps of the best master blasters before him. In his 14 first class games he averages 63.63 and scored 4 hundreds and 5 half centuries.
As a young man the lad still has “milk in his face” as Ravi Shastri observed when he first saw De Kock doing damage with the bat. De Kock is not a scratcher, accumulator or nudger and he simply arrives at the crease, observes a few balls and then cuts loose with every shot in the book. He is fluent on both sides of the wicket; and, he knows the aerial route better than most.
Striking at an amazing rate of 87.99 in first class cricket everything he does with bat in hand is reminiscent of the great Adam Gilchrist; and like Gilly he is a lefty.
Apart from his batting prowess there are three more reasons; good considerations I might add, why De Kock grabs attention. They are Aaron Phangiso, Chris Morris and Hardus Viljoen.
In a recent List-A game against the Cape Cobras, De Kock pulled off his gloves after 11 overs of Viljoen and Morris who both constantly bowled quicker than 147 km/h.
Oh, and by the way Morris is only 25 and Viljoen 23. There is no doubt that these youngsters could become the quickest in world cricket and the next generation feared pace men from Africa. Both get it up to 150 and in Morris’ case even quicker. Talking strictly of pace Morris, Viljoen, Marchant de Lange, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel bring back memories of the Windie speedsters who tormented Australia and England in the late 70’s and 80’s.
South Africa will not be searching for quicks for a while.
What I am saying is that, trough pain and the odd tear, De Kock deals with these blokes in a brilliant fashion.
The third reason is probably the most exiting spinning prospect this country had since readmission. Like most spinners Aaron Phangiso (28), also from the Lions, is a late developer. In the recent T20 international club series Aaron flummoxed the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and other greats with his spin. His ability to bowl the occasional of-spin amongst his preferred leg-spinners causes havoc because he disguises it better than most.
Add to Aaron’s impeccable line and length, the bounce he gets on relative flat wickets, extraordinary variation in flight and the fact that he turns the ball when he give it a good rip and it is quite obvious why he is becoming sensational.
Again, and also in his case, whatever he bowls, Quinton collects.
De Kock is a batting freak and based on his performances when Morris, Viljoen and Phangiso bowls he should make the Protea-keeper’s job his own.
Oh, and did I mention that he is only 19?