Proteas

Quinny's criminal 'self-dismissal'

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

Cape Town - A palpably out-of-form batsman, just starting to hit the ball more cleanly again and construct a meaningful innings.

So what does he go and do, after facing 49 deliveries for a nicely-poised 34?

If you are Quinton de Kock, effectively - and quite inexplicably - give yourself out.

That is what happened during the first one-day international between South Africa and India at Kingsmead on Thursday.

Still looking barely more comfortable in facial appearance than Mr Creosote just before his "better get a bucket" eruption in The Meaning of Life, De Kock had mistimed several strokes but also played some with mounting, heartening crispness before he faced up to a delivery at the end of the 15th over from Indian wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

The left-handed opener mistimed a flick and was struck on his right leg; immediately it looked a decent shout for leg before wicket, it is true, but the batsman slightly pre-empted - or perhaps even read: "triggered"? - umpire Bongani Jele's decision to lift the finger by turning his back almost immediately and heading toward the proverbial hut.

Shortly afterwards, however, the Decision Review System revealed (too late, as South Africa had not officially exercised their right to relook it) that the ball was missing leg-stump completely.

All the more infuriating about De Kock's strange haste to leave the crease was that captain and seasoned international figure Faf du Plessis was at the other end, and would at very least have been a good sounding board for advice on whether to review.

The Proteas had been picking up a nice head of steam at 83 for one, immediately ahead of De Kock's brain-burp, and his exit would soon trigger a mini-collapse to 134 for five which meant, as Du Plessis ruefully admitted in post-mortem from the comprehensive defeat, that they were always likely to fall short of a genuinely competitive total batting first.

The skipper felt South Africa had landed "50 to 70 shy" of an ideal score ... which left you wondering just how much rosier things might have turned out on the scoreboard had the legendarily pulsating, fast-scoring De Kock instead stayed a fair bit longer to help the impressive, century-making Du Plessis lay better front-end foundations.

Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, on SuperSport commentary, politely tried to explain De Kock's folly by saying: "I guess he was still in a negative frame of mind after his Test series struggles (with the blade)."

Former SA captain Shaun Pollock, meanwhile, observed: "It is not often you get trapped in front and just turn around and get going."

A personal thought? The astonishingly gifted De Kock should have been driven by sheer desperation to conquer his current, unusual crease demons there and then, rather than really just raised a white hanky in swift, self-judged defeatism.

Hopefully a quiet word in his ear, as they say, from a key member of the coaching staff followed the perhaps highly expensive incident for South Africa.

After all, De Kock is the kind of player, a bit like Virat Kohli or AB de Villiers, who coaxes people through turnstiles, and turns matches ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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