The manner in which Quinton de Kock went about his innings belied his age.
His Man of the Match effort in the third one day international against England earlier this week wasn’t a result of his usual brash, bullying approach. Instead it was an innings of measured caution as he weighed up which deliveries to go after and which to simply knock about to rotate the strike.
His record breaking first wicket stand of 239 with Hashim Amla, who was equally brilliant en route to a 22nd century in the format, was the catalyst to a record breaking chase by the Proteas as they kept the series alive to peg one back.
The tourists still hold the advantage at 2-1 with two games to play but the Proteas head into the annual pink ODI, which sees the side don pink kit and raise funds for breast cancer awareness, at the Wanderers tomorrow.
“I was setting my mind up. Wasn’t thinking too much. I was just setting myself up right and just playing it from there.” De Kock said after his 135-run effort.
It was the second time in the series that the left-hander has reached three figures after his career-best 138 in the opener in Bloemfontein and he admitted that the dividends he is currently showing is the result of a simple formula. He’s just playing cricket.
“That’s been a lot of my key. Especially scoring big runs, just keeping it very simple. Haven’t really needed to play high-risk shots,” he said before reflecting on the clash at the Wanderers.
“I haven’t actually thought that far yet. When I get there I’m just going to do the same thing as I did here and in Bloem. Just keep things very simple and just play the ball as I see it, on merit. That’s about it.”
At the rate the 23-year-old is going he’s likely to surpass a few big names as the centuries keep adding up. His 10th ton meant that he surpassed India’s Virat Kohli as the youngest player to get that many.
De Kock also edging up the chart for the number of one day international centuries scored for South Africa and looks set to surpass Gary Kirsten, who managed 13, and Jacques Kallis, who has 17, in the near future. He’s the seventh South African to manage 10 limited overs tons or more.
The form he’s displaying now is also vastly different to his fortunes at this time last year as he raced his way back to fitness in time for the ICC Cricket World Cup but endured a tough time at the showpiece.
“Funnily enough when I was going through my bad patch I was very superstitious. When I went to India with the South Africa A side I played freely and didn’t care about my superstitions. That’s just how I’ll do it. Play. Just try be the best person I can and just play the game.”