- Quinton de Kock and his Proteas teammates are going to do everything in their power to avoid having to go to Zimbabwe later this year to qualify for the 50-over World Cup.
- South Africa need to beat the Netherlands in both the remaining matches of their postponed ODI series to put them in the inside lane for automatic qualification.
- De Kock says there aren't any scars from the unexpected loss to the Netherlands in last year's T20 World Cup, which knocked them out of the tournament.
Quinton de Kock is one Protea - and in all likelihood not the only one - who is not planning on travelling to Zimbabwe in June for the ICC World Cup qualifying tournament.
Instead, he has given the assurance that he will do everything in his power to help guide South Africa to the two victories required against the Netherlands this weekend to book a direct passage to India for the 50-over showpiece in India later this year.
That they find themselves in this position is down to some erratic form in the ODI Super League, the mechanism used to determine automatic qualification.
It necessitates sweeping their opponents aside twice in order to end on 98 points and move into the magical eighth position on the log. The Proteas are currently in 10th place.
"At the very least I'm going to go out and give my absolute best not to go to Zim for the qualifiers," De Kock said on Thursday ahead of Friday's second ODI at Willowmoore Park in Benoni.
The opening game of the series back in 2021 was, in fact, rained off and the series postponed because of Omicron variant concerns.
"If I had any opportunity of avoiding that situation I would give everything to do just that. I'm pretty sure the rest of my teammates are in the exact frame of mind. They want to make sure they rock up at 100% intensity and be ready to go."
READ | Netherlands matches crucial for Proteas' Cricket World Cup hopes
While back-to-back victories are non-negotiable, the Proteas need to pay specific attention to their over-rate because falling foul of the ICC's time limits for innings means a point deduction.
South Africa have already lost two log points because of such offences twice, including earlier this year in the third ODI against England in Kimberley.
Ironically, had they completed their overs on time in the Northern Cape, wins in their upcoming tussles would have put them out of sight.
De Kock wasn't too perturbed about the issue, reasonably arguing that managing this issue is in their hands.
"[Coach] Rob [Walter] has very simply told the boys to make sure it's a situation that doesn't happen again," he said.
"We got a bit of a slap on the wrist previously and we're pretty sure we don't do it again. It's not a big issue for us because we know it's a controllable. It's about getting out there and hustling as quick as you can, all of the time.
"It's a quick fix. It's nothing too stressful."
Of course, there is also the spectre of the Netherlands being the team that infamously knocked the Proteas out of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia late last year.
Although, steady gains made since then - along with the visitors missing key protagonists in Colin Ackermann, Roelof van der Merwe, Brandon Glover and Logan van Beek - means the Proteas aren't having sleepless nights.
"We were a good team then, too, but we're probably slightly better now," said De Kock.
"During that game, it was really just a bad day for us and a bad day, too, for our supporters. It was sad it had to be that game.
"We're playing pretty good cricket. We just need to rock up and ensure that we don't take anything for granted. We need to come out purposeful."
Rain is predicted in Benoni on Friday, though, if all goes according to plan, the first ball will be bowled at 13:00.