Proteas-Windies Test star De Kock reveals why he asked for rest

12 June 2021 - 16:02 By mahlatse mphahlele
Quinton de Kock scored a career-best 141 not out on day 2 of the first Test against West Indies in Saint Lucia on Friday.
Quinton de Kock scored a career-best 141 not out on day 2 of the first Test against West Indies in Saint Lucia on Friday.
Image: Cricket South Africa/Twitter

Explosive Proteas batsman Quinton de Kock has revealed that he was not mentally tired of cricket because of the Test captaincy when he asked for a break earlier in the year.

De Kock, who was unbeaten on 141 when SA were dismissed for 322 in their first innings on day two of the Test match on Friday, said he asked for a break because the many bio-bubbles due to Covid-19 took their toll on him.

“To be honest, it didn’t have anything to do with the captaincy but it had everything to do with the Covid-19 bubbles,” he said at stumps on day two where the West Indies were struggling on 82/4 and still trailing by 143 runs.

“Obviously having been under so many bubbles took its toll and it was just too much. I just asked for a break to relax during the T20 series back home — they deemed it a mental break, whatever it is.

“I wasn’t mentally tired or from cricket at least — I was just tired from these bubbles and I had had enough of them. We were on the road from the IPL [Indian Premier League], and Pakistan bubble which was particularly difficult because of moving from change room to one room and no balconies and room to move.”

The West Indies go into day three on Saturday (starting in the evening, SA time) already four wickets down in their second innings and De Kock says there is a strong possibility that SA can take a 1-0 lead in the series with days to spare.

“If the bowlers keep to what they are doing and keep on applying pressure, we should have the game closed on Saturday. In saying that, they still have some good players to come because we have seen this team bat deep before,” he said. 

“We know the history as they still have players like Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase and Jason Holder — those are the players who know these conditions better than us and they can still put a lot of pressure on us.

“We just have to make sure that we come out strong on Sunday and I am sure it will be all right,” added De Kock, who did not want to divulge the reasons for not taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before the start of the match on Thursday.

Some Proteas took a knee ahead of Thursday’s start, and some raised their fists, but De Kock chose to stand to attention.

De Kock, who had a highest score of 39 in his previous seven Test innings, dedicated his century to a friend who lost his finger in Afghanistan as well as to rhino conservation in SA.

“It’s a whole bunch of us, we are doing Rockwood rhino conservation and the one night we had a braai and we started talking,” the player said.

“His finger got shot so I said if I get an accolade I would do that just for him. I couldn’t believe it happened first time and I am sure that my phone is going to be buzzing when I get to it.”