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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Quinton de Kock ‘just trying to give it my all for the last time’ in ODI Proteas jersey

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When Quinton de Kock called an end to his 10-year one-day international career following the conclusion of the ongoing Cricket Cup, it was met with mixed reactions.

When De Kock walked off the Wanderers during the fifth and final ODI of the series against Australia in September, it was just as emotional for the fans that filled up the Bullring on that Sunday morning as it was for him.

Moreover, following the impressive start that De Kock has had in the Cup – where the opening batter has smashed four centuries in seven games – questions were asked about whether his form would change his mind about retiring in the format.

Also, with Cricket South Africa looking to explore the idea of one-format contracts in the future, De Kock and many other cricketers who are looking to maximise the T20 leagues around the world would then be catered for, but still be able to pitch up for international cricket.

The 2027 Cup in southern Africa is also a factor that could influence De Kock’s decision, but yesterday the wicket-keeper admitted that the future is an unknown entity – but was adamant that his decision stands at this point in time ahead of tomorrow’s blockbuster clash against India at Eden Gardens in Kolkata (10.30am SA time start).

“At this point, I don’t foresee it happening (reversing his ODI retirement). But strange things happen in life. It could be a possibility, but I don’t think so, because there are some good youngsters coming in anyway who will take my spot as soon as I leave here. Like I said, you never know.

“I think it’s the end of my 50-over career. There have been one or two words said to me for me to think about it, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

On the upside, De Kock’s retirement has somehow lit the fire in him to close out his career with the Cup trophy, and his four centuries in the tournament thus far are proof of his added motivation.

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De Kock is in India to win the Cup trophy for South Africa, not for individual accolades.

“It’s my last Cup, so I’m just trying to give it my all. I’m just trying to help out where I can, and just trying to give it my all for the last time,” he said.

“Every game now, especially counting down to my last couple of games, every game is special.

“As a unit, we’ve batted really well, but I’d rather score no runs and win the Cup. Individual accolades are great, but at the end of the day for myself, if I don’t foresee us winning the trophy, then it kind of means nothing for me.

“So, I’m looking at the bigger picture of why we are here.”

Tomorrow, De Kock will be up against a quality Indian attack that includes quicks Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami. In fact, the whole Indian team are in good form at the moment, and playing them at home only intensifies the pressure of the encounter.

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Despite all that, South Africa are going into the match as though it is just another game of cricket.

“Playing India in India is going to be quite a spectacle, and they will have every fan in India at that stadium – and we’re probably going to have a handful,” De Kock said.

“That’s probably the crazier thing about our fixture on Sunday … Otherwise, it’s just another game of cricket, I would say.”


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