Quinton de Kock. Picture: ASHLEY VLOTMAN/GALLO IMAGES
Quinton de Kock. Picture: ASHLEY VLOTMAN/GALLO IMAGES

In the sea of turmoil cricket in SA has found itself in for the best part of the year‚ there is still a game to take place on Friday when England and the Proteas meet in the first of three T20s.

For Proteas limited overs captain Quinton de Kock‚ it is a new start in every sense. They have had to watch from the sidelines as the administrative upheaval took centre stage while there has also been the team’s rather middling approach to the Black Lives Matter issue.

Friday’s Newlands fixture will be the first cricket international on home soil for almost a year and De Kock said they are looking forward to it.

“It’s a fresh start. The guys are keen to play. It’s been a while since we’ve played for the Proteas. The guys are keen to change what has been going on around cricket. We’re the leaders and we’ll try to lead from the front. The guys are keen to get going‚” De Kock said.

They run into an England side with plenty of cricket mileage. Eoin Morgan’s side has played a lot of cricket in various forms‚ and they have been far busier than their SA counterparts. They also seem to have the upper hand over their hosts with recent limited overs series wins at home and away in the past three years.

De Kock was not hung up on past results‚ but also recognised the threat posed by England’s array of superstars that includes Ben Stokes.

“England’s a team that’s full of match-winners. In the last series we played against them‚ we gave them a run for their money. It was disappointing that we didn’t win the series because we always fought to the end and we didn’t just sit back because it was England‚” De Kock said.

“I’m not big on records and all those things. I just played a game where I was the keeper and Ben Stokes just smashed a hundred against us. He’s a top-class player that adds a lot of value to his team. There are a lot of guys to watch out for in that team and if one of them comes off‚ they can really hurt you.”

Most of SA’s cricketers went into camp after two rounds of red-ball cricket‚ but De Kock was one of five who played in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He played a critical role in the Mumbai Indians’ successful title defence.

While happy with the IPL experience in the team, which should come in handy over the next two weeks‚ De Kock was quick to highlight the difference between IPL and international cricket.

“Just because I played in the IPL doesn’t guarantee that I’ll score runs in the next series. I’d love to get off to a couple of starts and ensure I maximise them. That’ll help out our situation‚ so I’ll try to grab an opportunity with both hands if I can‚” De Kock said.

“There’s a lot of IPL experience in the team‚ so I can bring my little bit and the other guys can bring their little bits. IPL, though, is different‚ especially in the way it was played this year‚ so it’s not like I’m going to bring something that the guys don’t know about already.

“It could be the smallest things and not the most obvious things‚ but there’s always a chance to learn something new.”

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