De Kock: I have to start playing ‘more of a senior role in the team’

“I am really focused on getting my batting ability much higher”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Fresh off winning five prizes at Cricket South Africa’s annual awards ceremony, wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock knows that he has to maintain a level of consistency and become more mature.

De Kock, who won the coveted Cricketer of the Year award, knows that many people will look to him to take a leadership role when most of the senior players in the side retire.

While this may sound like a daunting task, given the successes AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla have had, De Kock is welcoming it with open arms.

“I am really focused on getting my batting ability much higher, better knowing that in the next couple of years the older guys will start falling out and we will have to start replacing them,” he said. “And I’m going to have to start playing more of a senior role in the team. It’s that sort of mindset that’s shifting at the moment for me.”

De Kock also pointed out that learning from his mistakes is another avenue he will have to travel down in order to start stepping into a more senior role.

“I feel that I am learning but I don’t know as much as a lot of the other players,” de Kock said. “I’m the type of guy, you can tell me what to do but I need to do it for myself – for me to actually experience it and learn from those mistakes myself. Once that happens I know I’ll grow. I’m a fairly fast learner – well, I think I am – but we’ll see next season.”

As for the next step, the 24-year-old admitted that he has to show more patience when playing on pitches that lack pace. For De Kock, this could prove to be tough as he has always been an aggressive and attacking batsman, but the Johannesburg native knows that he has to preserve his wicket to the best of his abilities.

“Sometimes I’m quite instinctive but sometimes I try and read what the bowler is doing and I try and play to that situation,” he said. “Sometimes my technique is not the best for slow decks. It’s about learning to play on them and in those situations.

“I’ve grown up on the Highveld so fast wickets are my game. So I’m still learning to play on slow decks where the ball’s turning excessively.”

Meanwhile, De Kock revealed that the finger injury which ruled him out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has completely healed.

He also acknowledged that there is a lot of expectation on him to shine at the Champions Trophy in England next month.

However, when asked about South Africa’s chances of winning the tournament, De Kock said: “I don’t want to say too much. I don’t want to jinx myself or jinx the team. The Proteas have always been seen as favourites when they go into big tournaments.

“This time we don’t want to be that. We just want to be that team who go there and does our best. We’ll try to win it. We know we’ve got a lot of backing at the moment because of the season we’ve just had.

“People can say we’re going to win, but we hear that at every ICC tournament. So we’re just going to take it game by game and not get too ahead of ourselves.”

Even though the Proteas have disappointed time and time again at ICC events, De Kock made it clear that his main goal is to help his side get better.

“I never feel quite as good when I walk off the field and I haven’t done anything for the team, whether that’s helping out with a run-out or something that could just change the momentum of the game or keep the momentum in our favour,” he said. “That makes me enjoy the game more. Sure, accolades make you feel good. But when you know you’re doing your bit for the team, that’s what makes you feel good.”

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