De Kock comfortable with Proteas limited overs leadership

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Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock
Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock
Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
  • Proteas batsman Quinton de Kock admits that he is much more comfortable in his role as captain.
  • De Kock will lead the Proteas in their first international game since March.
  • He also hoped to continue his incredible Indian Premier League performance to the England series.

Proteas star batsman Quinton de Kock admitted that he is comfortable in his role as Proteas ODI and T20 captain.

Last year, De Kock took over from batsman Faf du Plessis as the Proteas limited-overs skipper and has since captained in 16 games to date with a 56% win ratio.

De Kock will lead the Proteas in unusual circumstances as they take on England in the opening T20 at Newlands on Friday.

This is the first time the Proteas will play international cricket in eight months due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

And De Kock told reporters in a press conference on Thursday that he is now quite comfortable in his role as captain.

"I guess so, I'm not feeling as nervous as I once did when they asked me and that sort of feeling has disappeared and I'm much more comfortable," said De Kock.

"The guys have helped me feel more comfortable, there's a lot of trust that has been made with me getting this job and how we're going about it as a team."

While it's confirmed that De Kock won't be captaining the Test side, he admitted that there are a few candidates in mind.

"We haven't gotten there yet, I'm still trying to focus on what I have here. There are a couple leaders in the team, anyone could do it though there are the odd standouts. You've got Dean (Elgar), Rassie (van der Dussen) won't do too of a bad job and there are other candidates as well."

READ | Rassie van der Dussen: You don't need a title to be a leader

It's been an uncertain time in South African cricket with off-field issues making headlines, but De Kock says that the Proteas are looking to change the attitude surrounding the game.

"It is (a fresh start). It's been a while since we've played for the Proteas, the guys are raring to go and help change what's been going on around cricket in South Africa. We are the leaders up front and we're going to try and lead from the front."

Coach Mark Boucher has embedded a new philosophy within the Proteas camp: to be "aggressive but smart".

It's a new style of play that the Proteas are instilling ahead of next year's T20 World Cup and the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

"We want to be aggressive but also smart on the way we go about things, be more streetwise when we're out on the field," said De Kock.

"It makes me more comfortable, I do enjoy that brand of cricket and the guys have taken it on board so hopefully it works."

Earlier this month, De Kock starred with the bat as he helped take the Mumbai Indians to their fifth Indian Premier League (IPL) title.

De Kock was Mumbai's top run-scorer with 503 runs in his 16 matches, which included four half-centuries.

The wicketkeeper-batsman is hopeful that he can continue his IPL form into the three T20s and three ODIs against England.

"Just because I played in the IPL, it doesn't guarantee scoring runs in the next series," said De Kock.

"I'll love to get to a couple of starts and make sure I can capitalise on them. I think that will help our situation big time."

The entire limited-over series against England will be played behind-closed-doors and De Kock is positive that it'll be a "close contest".

"England have an unbelievable record in a team that's full of match-winners but the last series we played against them, we gave them a run for their money. It was disappointing when we didn't win the series but we always fought to the end.

"It should be a good contest, when I look at the teams we are almost matching... When we get onto the field it'll be a close contest."

Play on Friday starts at 18:00.

If you're a News24 subscriber, comment down below your Proteas XI for Friday's opening T20 against England!

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