LONDON – So how did Quinton de Kock feel about earning a 50th T20 International cap on Tuesday night?
“It was quite lekker,” he said. “I didn’t realise it was my 50th. A friend in the team reminded me. It was a great day to get out there and win the game, which is the most important thing.”
Did it feel significant that he became just the fifth South Africa men’s player to earn 50 T20 International caps? “To be honest, no. We play way too much cricket for me to keep up with everything. Probably at a point in my life when I’m close to the end of my career, maybe ya then (I’ll look at the records), for now I’ll just keep soldering on. It’s tough to keep up with everything, we play so much cricket.”
De Kock received one quarter of a Krugerrand from David Miller at a small squad ceremony before the match as a memento. Then he took to the crease and made the top score for South Africa, 72, as part of an innings in which they again disappointed. Not that it mattered to De Kock. South Africa won, narrowly, by one run. He is all about winning at the moment, realising that while the batting isn’t where it should be, winning is equally important for a side that last won a T20 series in February 2019. “We did mention that winning games like this is key to how we want to go about things going forward. It adds confidence to me, the bowlers and the rest of the batters.”
The tour to the West Indies has seen De Kock revitalised. After struggling last summer to deal with the captaincy across all three formats coupled with battling to adjust to the restrictions of ‘bio bubbles,’ De Kock is back to being cheeky and playing with a smile on his face.
“Ya it's been great…here in the West Indies it’s always a fun place to play cricket. We’ve got a good bunch of lads in the team, all with a great sense of humour. Also guys are hungry to do well, which is nice to have around, we have a ton of fun, which is quite cool.”
The majority of the side’s most experienced players missed the last two series’ South Africa played earlier this year against Pakistan. De Kock values the bonds that are being created as the team builds toward the T20 World Cup, which will be played in the United Arab Emirates later this year. “It's good to have the core around playing together. It’s all part of the preparation for the T20 World Cup.”
South Africa have strung together back to back wins in the series, something they have failed to do under Mark Boucher’s coaching tenure in the shortest format. Asked for the key to maintaining that winning streak, De Kock replied: “The only way to maintain a winning streak is to keep winning, that is the only way, not by losing.”