Having led South Africa for the first time as full-time captain in the T20I leg of their recent tour of India, wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock said that he sees himself as only a replacement for regular captain Faf du Plessis, but if given the mantle for the long-term, won’t shy away from grabbing it.
Du Plessis was excluded from the T20I series against India, and it is widely being expected that the 35-year-old will remain in charge of the Test team while Cricket South Africa hunts for a new captain for the white-ball formats, following the team’s disastrous performance at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in England and Wales earlier this year.
De Kock is understood to be one of the candidates in contention to lead South Africa at next year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, and the T20Is against India was an orientation of sorts, as CSA look to groom him for a full-time position.
"The way I see it is that I was just a replacement," de Kock told ESPNcricinfo. "That's the way I took it. For now, it's still Faf's baby. But maybe if things change and they do want me to do it, then I will do it.
"For the moment, I am not looking too far ahead. I am just trying to look at how I can help out with the youngsters, with the new guys in the T20 team, and by myself, just getting better and getting ready for the T20 World Cup next year. But if that does come upon me, then I will try and grab it with both hands."
De Kock will now have the chance to test his captaincy credentials at the second edition of the Mzansi Super League, which gets underway on 8 November. De Kock will lead Cape Town Blitz at the tournament, an offer brought to the table by Blitz coach Ashwell Prince.
It will mean de Kock will have triple responsibilities riding on him, as captain, wicket-keeper and batsman. While it could burden some, de Kock welcomed the additional duties and said that ‘keeping could positively impact his captaincy, as standing directly behind the stumps, he is at the centre of the action at all times, with a keen eye on field movements and placements.
"It's nothing too difficult - keeping and batting, and the keeping will help out my captaincy anyway," de Kock said. "Rather than being out in the field, I seem to read things better, how the pitch plays, which bowlers to bowl when, the angles, and all that kind of stuff when I am keeping. I feel like the keeping helps my batting and also my captaincy."
"For the moment, I am not looking too far ahead. I am just trying to look at how I can help out with the youngsters, with the new guys in the T20 team, and by myself, just getting better and getting ready for the T20 World Cup next year."
As for the national team, they’ve had a tough year, enduring a forgettable World Cup, followed by an extremely tough tour of India, but de Kock put the dip in performances down to the transitional period and saw no reason why they can’t come out of it a better side.
"We are not the first team that has gone through a transition," he said. "England did it after their last World Cup and look at them. Four years later, they end up winning the thing.”
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!