“I’m never going to be the head boy. I’m a little outside the box and I enjoy being a little different to people”.
SOUTH African cricket fans that have become accustomed to Faf du Plessis’s suave leadership skills and media engagements would have every reason to feel apprehensive now that Quinton de Kock will be at the helm for the upcoming T20 series against India.
It’s only for the interim – like all things in South African cricket are at the moment – with Du Plessis back in the saddle when the real business of Test cricket starts at the end of the month.
But that’s still enough time for the anxiety to set in.
De Kock is definitely not a disciple of the Mike Brearley leadership school, where every decision is mulled over timeously, especially as the Proteas wicket-keeper described his last stand-in stint as “pretty cool” and that “I didn’t think too long about field positions. Captaincy isn’t exactly rocket science.”
It’s enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine, but perhaps more attention should be paid to a further line from De Kock where he has previously said: “I’m never going to be the head boy. I’m a little outside the box and I enjoy being a little different to people”.
Perhaps this “act on instinct” mantra is the shot-in-the-arm the Proteas require, particularly after the disappointing World Cup campaign earlier this year.
New Proteas interim Team Director Enoch Nkwe certainly has full confidence that De Kock can capably fill the breach.
“We have a good leader here with me (Quinton de Kock),” Nkwe said upon the Proteas arrival in Dharamshala yesterday. “If you look at our captain, he has played a lot of cricket here in India.
“We know where Faf stands as our captain and as player. He’s done great things for South African cricket. We also need to look at what the future could hold for us. We believe in Quinton’s leadership. I strongly believe that we have a good enough squad. We know the opposition are strong in the backyard, but we are here to win.”
For all of Nkwe’s belief, it will certainly though be a stiff task to replicate the T20I series win the last time the Proteas were in India.
The core of the successful 2016 unit have either retired or been cast aside, which has left this Proteas with a group of greenhorns for the three-match series starting on Sunday.
The current group have just over 200 T20I caps, but with only two players De Kock (36) and David Miller (70) boasting more than half of them. De Kock, though, remains full of belief that his youthful squad could spring a few surprises over the next couple of weeks.
“We have a lot of new players,” De Kock said. “But win or lose, I just want the guys to keep competing. We have a young team and they will bring lots of energy.”