Quinton de Kock, the South African wicketkeeper, admitted he learnt a lot about his game while, opening the innings in the second Test against New Zealand, on Saturday. De Kock replaced the injured Dean Elgar at the top of the order and made 82 runs to help hosts reach 283 for 3 at stumps on the first day.
“Opening in Test cricket is an under-rated job,” de Kock said at the end of day’s play. “It’s a different level, it’s not the same as opening the batting in one-day and T20 cricket. The ball moves around a lot and it tests your technique and your patience,”
“I actually learnt a lot about myself, like where to be tight and how to play certain balls. I think it’s the most I’ve ever left a ball in my career. I am proud of myself for doing that. It’s quite nice knowing that I can do that.”
The 23-year-old also revealed that he would love to go back to his preferred No. 6 or No. 7 slot in the batting order after volunteering to open in this Test. “I think that is more for dean and Stephen, I’ll stay at six and seven, thanks,” he said.
“I just thought let me just do it. I didn’t see anybody else doing that job. I have a bit of experience at the opening in red-ball cricket. I thought that since Stiaan has had a go, let me just rather go there and do it and do what I can for the team.”
De Kock was also happy for JP Duminy, who finally delivered under pressure with an unbeaten 67. He now hopes that Duminy will be able to score a big innings. “JP has been working very hard lately,” he noted. “For him to score a hundred will be a massive boost. I hope he does. It will be nice to see a team-mate who has been under pressure off the field do well.”
Mark Boucher, the former wicketkeeper, was roped in by South Africa ahead of the series and de Kock feels his presence has helped him maintain his fitness level.
“He just grinds me, makes me work hard. He loves the fitness part of ‘keeping and I feel fitter. It’s the stuff I know but he just does it to an extreme level.”
Even though New Zealand managed to pick up three wickets, in the end, Neil Wagner backed the management’s decision to bowl first on a green surface.
“I have never seen a wicket this time of the year that had so much grass on it,” Wagner said. “When we saw the grass on it, 100 per cent we were keen to bowl and a lot of the time the ball did go around.”
The South African-born seamer now hopes to dismiss his former schoolmate Faf du Plessis on the second day. “You run into Faf and you want to have a laugh because there is a lot of memories from school in your head,” he said.
“You try and put that out of your head and focus on the battle: you want to get him out. That’s the main thing. Growing up it was a different story. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing – he knows what’s coming,” Wagner concluded.