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International cricket
Is Quinton de Kock on his way to becoming the next Adam Gilchrist?

Like Gilchrist, de Kock can take some amazing catches while his attacking batting is reminiscent of the great Australian.


Quinton de Kock has been paid the ultimate compliment: he has been compared to the legendary Adam Gilchrist, by no less than Michael Vaughan and Ricky Ponting.

If the recent couple of Tests between hosts Australia and South Africa are anything to go by there is more evidence to the aforementioned claim. De Kock has scored 252 runs at an average of 84, batting at No. 7. Moreover, he has been great behind the stumps, bagging nine catches, the standout being the catch of Nathan Lyon off Vernon Philander where the keeper dived to his right beyond first slip to pluck it off the air.

If his counter-attacking, aggressive batting was not close enough to Adam Gilchrist, who batted at the same position for Australia and was also a left-hander, the catch had as close a reminiscence as one could get to the Australian wicket-keeping legend at his prime.

Taking the attack to the opposition

South Africa were in a spot of bother when Quinton de Kock came in to bat at 81/5 in their first innings in Perth. But he ensured that he did not get bogged down by the situation and continued to play his natural game.

He first stitched an important partnership with Temba Bavuma before getting some crucial runs in the end with Keshav Maharaj. De Kock was the ninth wicket to fall but had done enough by then to put South Africa in a decent position. The swashbuckling left-hander scored 84 at a strike rate of 83.17 and helped South Africa launch a counter attack on the Aussies.

By the time the second innings came, the top order had done their job but De Kock finished it off in style with a crafty 64.

After going 1-0 up into the second Test, South Africa added the icing on the cake, wrapping Australia up for 85 in the first innings. Trying to get a huge total in reply, South Africa too had an average start as they found themselves tumbling at 132/5 before de Kock came into bat.

He put South Africa from a position of advantage to the driving seat and as it panned out, helped the Proteas register an innings defeat over arch rivals Australia and win the series 2-0.

A child prodigy

As they say, “a star of tomorrow gives enough evidences at a young age”, de Kock was no different. The baby-faced assassin, as he is popularly known, was spotted at a young age as an amazing talent at the King Edward VII High School in Johannesburg.

Moving up the ranks, de Kock soon became a part of South Africa’s Under-19 setup. In 2012, de Kock led South African U-19’s team surge as he helped his side into the quarter-finals of the World Cup, scoring 95 and 126 in the opening two games of the tournament. He went on to pick the Man of the Match awards for both those innings.

De Kock ended as the top scorer for South Africa in the tournament, accumulating 284 runs, which was also the fourth highest in the tournament.

Not too long later, de Kock gave evidence of his credentials where he stitched a match-winning partnership with Neil Mckenzie to help the Lions beat favourites Mumbai Indians in the 2012 Champions League Twenty20. Lions advanced to the semi-finals, with de Kock being a major reason for it.

De Kock was soon a part of the senior setup, but unlike his Under-19 days, was made to bat at No. 6 on his One-Day International debut against New Zealand at Paarl in January 2013. But it was later that year when it all changed for de Kock.

Former captain Graeme Smith played his last ODI and the gates for the opening slots opened up. De Kock got his deserved chance and within a month of batting up top, the 23-year-old South African struck four hundreds, three of which came against then world champions India.

Not only did the youngster impress one and all, even the records started falling for him. He became the highest scorer for a three-match bilateral series, while also becoming the first player to score three tons in a three-match bilateral series.

De Kock was in no mood to slow down and fitted into Graeme Smith’s shoes without much ado. The year 2014 also brought prosperity for the stylish left hander as he became the joint-fastest to reach 1,000 runs in ODIs, sharing the record with West Indian legend Vivian Richards, Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott.

Shrugging off a loss of form

What followed though was not what the left hander would have wanted. A lean patch came in with the left hander failing to make much of a mark for himself. But on the positive side, he had his countrymen backing him and saw himself being retained in the side.

De Kock gave another strong statement as he fired an important 78 against Sri Lanka in the quarter finals of the 2015 World Cup to take his side through.

But it has been 2016 that has seen De Kock going back to his best. He began the year with his maiden Test ton against England before having a strong series against Australia as the Proteas registered a whitewash against the Kangaroos. De Kock became the holder of South Africa’s second-highest individual score in ODIs with a career-best 178 in the series opener.

With similar batting styles, flexibility and reactions behind the stumps and batting positions alike, there is enough resemblance between Adam Glichrist and Quinton de Kock. The 23-year-old, who averages better than the Australian wicket-keeping legend at the moment, has a huge task of consistently playing at that level like Gilchrist did.

Though the sample size is small currently, but de Kock seems to have all the makings of replicating Gilly’s feat and be the next Adam Gilchrist or rather, the first Quinton de Kock, who surpassed Gilly with his achievements and impact.




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