Let De Kock's talent develop
If popular opinion was a national cricket selector, Quinton de Kock would be wearing a South African shirt everywhere he goes.
His unbeaten 51, which took the Lions to victory over Mumbai Indians on Sunday, seemed to result in more fans calling De Kock's name than Sachin Tendulkar's that night - and rightly so.
His innings mixed youthful boundary lust with mature temperament so well that Neil McKenzie, 17 years De Kock's senior, said it was the youngster who got the team out of trouble. On the evidence of that alone, some have called for De Kock's inclusion in the national team.
Few have seen him play in any other format, partly because he has not played all that much and partly because more people go to Jennifer Lopez films than a first-class match.
Word of his 194 against the Cobras a few weeks ago has got out, and that is also used to justify fast-tracking him.
Nobody talks about any of his other innings. Rather, they talk about the fact that he is also a wicket-keeper and could develop in the same way Mark Boucher did if he is just given the opportunity.
Perhaps if there were no other glovemen in the country at all, there would be some merit to the argument, but that is not the case at all. In fact the best one, Thami Tsolekile, is in De Kock's Lions team and keeps wicket ahead of him there.
As a result of the talent pool, there is no need to rush De Kock into the international set-up. In fact, doing so may only result in the same disappointment and frustration Wayne Parnell experienced.
Parnell was 19 years old when he debuted for South Africa and made an immediate impact at the World T20 in 2009, where he took nine wickets and conceded less than six runs an over.
Since then, he's played three Tests, 27 ODIs and 17 T20s, struggled with injury, his action and form, and yo-yoed in and out of the national team with no hint of a plan. He has yet to play a full season of franchise cricket, although this summer that could and should change. Given a rigorous run in domestic cricket, he may come back as Vernon Philander did - stronger.
De Kock has also not done time in the traps. This season he will play all formats for the Lions under the guidance of Geoffrey Toyana and with players like Test batsman Alviro Petersen, McKenzie and experienced opener Stephen Cook.
Petersen could be the best mentor for De Kock, given his calm nature and cool head. For now he is "letting Quinton be because I don't want to put pressure on the younger players". That is exactly what the national selectors should do as well.
De Kock's talent - and there is a lot of it - is not going to go anywhere.
There will come a time when South African cricket will need it, but until then it should be allowed to develop fully.