It was a daft idea to send Quinton de Kock straight from the Test team in Bangladesh to the SA ‘A’ team in India.
It wasn’t only his batting which was looking flaky in Bangladesh, it was his love for the game. And when that happens, as it does to most players at various stages of their careers, they need to be sent on a fishing trip, not another tour.
De Kock’s ‘meltdown’ for Easterns in the Africa T20 match in Benoni could have been seen coming. Just because he’s 22-years-old doesn’t mean he can play non-stop, even if he wanted to do. When he lost form in Bangladesh and started becoming tetchy with those around him, it was time to give him a rest.
Instead, he was demoted and told to carry on playing. However it was couched and cloaked as an opportunity for him to regain form, it looked and would have felt like a punishment trip. ‘A’ team tours are infamously ‘character building’ trips with second hand buses used to transfer players from modest hotels to lesser venues.
Rightly or wrongly, de Kock would have believed he deserved a little better having scored international centuries and served his country with some distinction across all three formats.
Nonetheless, he scored three centuries in India and did what the selectors asked of him. Perhaps the time was right upon his return for someone to put their arm around him and present him with a voucher for seven days accommodation at a bush lodge of his choice.
Instead he was playing again in a development tournament for Easterns when his place could have been used far more productively by a youngster with everything to prove and nothing to lose.
Hopefully he will rediscover the passion and enthusiasm for cricket which made him such a precocious talent and he will thrive in the ODI series on flat pitches in India. But it’s also right that Dane Vilas wasn’t tossed out of the Test squad after just a single match. De Kock has many years ahead of him but needs to be reintroduced to international cricket gently.
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