Captain Quinton de Kock walks to the nets during the South Africa national cricket team training session and press conference at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, India, on September 17 2019. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ISURU SAMEERA
Captain Quinton de Kock walks to the nets during the South Africa national cricket team training session and press conference at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, India, on September 17 2019. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ISURU SAMEERA

It can only be in India where on the eve of a T20 international‚ the relevance of winning an Indian Premier League (IPL) title can be weighed against winning an international tournament.

That is what faced Proteas T20 captain Quinton de Kock‚ who smartly did not avoid the question but did betray SA’s chronic tournament failure since readmission in 1991.

Since the 1992 Cricket World Cup‚ SA only have the 1998 ICC Champions Trophy to show for their efforts. There have been near-misses‚ crash and burns, and, significantly‚ the chokes. There is no background of success for De Kock when it comes to SA’s performance with the white ball.

De Kock is an honest person and that quality came through his response.

“It’s the biggest thing I’ve won so far. I haven’t won the World Cup. Once I win a World Cup and if I do‚ it’s going to be the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my career.

“So far‚ it’s an IPL final and I played for a couple of teams that didn’t make the play-offs. I played for Mumbai and we won‚” De Kock said.

“It’s a big achievement for any cricketer. They want to win IPL finals and they want to be part of World Cup finals and win them.

“Personally it’s different for everyone and they have their opinions. Mine is mine and theirs is theirs. The IPL is the biggest thing I’ve achieved so far.”

What should have been the first of three T20s in Dharamsala was washed because of persistent rain. The weather‚ though‚ is not a threat for Wednesday’s second game in Mohali, where De Kock’s captaincy reign should splutter into some sort of life.

It is that time of the cricketing calendar where the shortest format has to be prioritised. The format’s World Cup takes place in 2020 in Australia and both teams have to sort out how they approach T20 cricket.

From an SA perspective‚ it is not clear how they want to go about their business, even though the squad has a number of seasoned domestic performers.

India‚ on the other hand‚ are battling to find a balance around the accumulation that generally works for them in 50-over cricket but fails them in 20-over shoot-outs, where the weight of boundaries shift the destination of matches decisively.

Being a simple thinker‚ De Kock is not worried about the future or the captaincy responsibility.

“I’m not too concerned. It’s just a stepping stone in my career.

“It just gives me that extra bit of responsibility in the team. We’ll see how it goes because it could affect me negatively or positively.

“I’m unsure at the moment but I hope it gives me the positive option in the team.

“I also hope I can still do well for the team and do the best I can do‚” De Kock said.