The epitome of the modern wicketkeeper-batsman, Quinton de Kock grew up playing baseball — a fact evident from the clean, lusty hitting he brings to cricket. Indeed, there were thoughts of a move to the United States to try and make it to the Major Leagues before he dropped out of high school (King Edward VII in Johannesburg, the alma mater of Ali Bacher, Neil McKenzie, Graeme Smith and golf great Gary Player) to commit himself to a career in the more genteel of the world’s big bat-and-ball games.
De Kock is possessed with a pulverising pull and an apparently bottomless appetite for runs, runs and more runs. At first clumsy behind the stumps, he has earned a place among the slickest glovemen through supreme athleticism and a great work ethic.
It took de Kock nine innings to score his first ODI century, against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in November 2013, and the three he reeled off consecutively against India in December that year was a record until Kumar Sangakkara hit four in a row during the 2015 World Cup.
He played 26 white-ball internationals before he made his Test debut against Australia at St George’s Park in February 2014. After the Test series in Sri Lanka in July 2014, there was no doubt who South Africa’s top stumper was, regardless of the format. An ankle injury almost removed him from the equation for the 2015 World Cup, and while he regained his fitness in time, he reached 50 just once in eight innings in the tournament. Five trips to the crease in white-ball games in Bangladesh that July brought him only 100 runs, and he was axed.
Recalled for the ODI series in India in October 2015, de Kock took his chance and hammered two centuries in five innings.
In his 17 innings for South Africa across the formats in 2019 heading into the World Cup, he scored two centuries and eight half-centuries.