De Kock inspiring Proteas through actions more than words

Quinton de Kock (Gallo)
Quinton de Kock (Gallo)

Cape Town - It may only be one result, but South Africa's performance in the opening ODI against England at Newlands on Tuesday was as inspiring as the Proteas have looked in the format for some time. 

Under the new leadership of Quinton de Kock, the hosts cruised to a seven-wicket win with the skipper himself carding 107 (113) while Temba Bavuma's 98 (103) was equally entertaining. 

Before that, De Kock had juggled his bowlers impressively to restrict the world champions to 258/8 from their allotted 50 overs. 

De Kock has been identified as the man to lead the Proteas to the 2023 World Cup in India, and this was the perfect start. 

Those unfamiliar with De Kock's leadership style will be watching closely over the next few weeks and months, but early indications are that he is looking to inject an intensity and positivity into a side that took a severe knock by finishing seventh at the World Cup. 

He will not always give the most eloquent post-match press conferences, but De Kock's cricketing acumen is respected by all of those who have shared the field with him. 

He proved as much on Tuesday with some shrewd bowling changes and some on-point field placing, and speaking after the match Bavuma gave some insight into what De Kock brought to the table in terms of leadership. 

"It's massive for the team. It's massive for a guy like Quinny as well," Bavuma said of the result.

"We draw a lot of energy from him and guys are really living up to the things that he says.

"He doesn't speak a lot and is more a guy that leads through his actions and I think guys have been inspired by that."

Bavuma pointed to last September's T20 tour to India, where De Kock captained the side to a 1-1 draw, as the beginning of a new era in white ball cricket for South Africa. 

"If I look at the T20 series in India where we also had a young side taking on a formidable Indian team, we were able to stand up head to head with them," he said.

"As a young, inexperienced team we will take a lot of confidence from this but we know that England are going to come harder on Friday in Durban (2nd ODI)."

Play on Friday starts at 13:00.

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