'It felt like my debut again' - De Kock

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

Centurion - South Africa's Boxing Day star, Quinton de Kock, says he felt like he was playing his debut all over again at SuperSport Park on Thursday. 

This is De Kock's 44th Test match and he showed once again with a superb knock of 95 on day one of the first Test against England that he is a key component of this side, but there was still a feeling of the 'new' for the 27-year-old in front of nearly 11 000 people at Centurion. 

It has been an incredibly testing year for South African cricket both on and off the field. 

A dismal showing at the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England came either side of humiliating Test series losses to Sri Lanka (2-0) and India (3-0) while shenanigans in the boardroom reached tipping point earlier this month when CEO Thabang Moroe was suspended by the Cricket South Africa (CSA) board. 

At that time, the Proteas were three weeks away from the start of the England series without any permanent coaching staff. 

Enoch Nkwe was operating as the interim team director, but he had no backroom staff while there was also no convenor of selectors. 

Urgent intervention, though, saw Jacques Faul appointed as acting CEO of the organisation before Graeme Smith was unveiled as the Director of Cricket and Mark Boucher was named head coach until after the 2023 World Cup. 

The additions of Jacques Kallis and Charl Langeveldt to the backroom staff, combined with the decision to recall Linda Zondi as acting convenor of selectors, at least gave the Proteas an element of stability heading into the series, even if it was somewhat of a rush job. 

Nkwe, meanwhile, has been appointed as Boucher's assistant coach.

Finally, the conversations could return to the field where the Proteas are trying desperately to return to winning ways and restore their place as one of the giants in the global game. 

They didn't get off to the best start on Thursday, but De Kock's heroics helped them finish day one on 277/9. 

In familiar fashion, De Kock came out and hit the ground running, playing his shots from the very beginning as the Proteas clawed their way back. 

"I said to Bouch the other day, it felt like I was playing my debut all over again," he said after the day's play.

"There have been a lot of changes and a lot of things have happened. As a team we want to turn things around.

"There has been a lot of talk and a lot of things done off the field when it comes to practices and that stuff.

"I felt re-energised getting into the series with all the changes and now that there is structure. I think the guys are very happy at the moment and hopefully it goes well for us."

Reflecting on his innings, De Kock says it was not necessarily his intention to score quickly. 

"I wasn't trying to go at whatever strike rate I was going at," he said.

"I was just trying to get myself in good positions and show some intent.

"Whether I was scoring runs or not I just wanted to make sure I was getting my head in the game and compete out there. When I started finding rhythm it started happening."

Play on Friday will start at 10:00.

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