Quinton de Kock: 9 things to know about the baby-faced South African
Designed by Jyoti Desale

Quinton de Kock, born December 17, 1992, is one of South Africa’s brightest prospects in recent times. An aggressive left-handed opener and wicketkeeper, de Kock has become one of the mainstays of South Africa’s top order in ODIs. Shiamak Unwalla lists out nine things to know about him.

1. Illustrious predecessors

Quinton de Kock did his schooling at King Edward VII High School, whose alumni include former opening batsman Neil McKenzie and former South African skipper Graeme Smith.

2. India basher

There have been many people who have relished batting against India’s friendly bowling attack, but de Kock’s feat is special. At age of 21, he hit three back-to-back One-Day International (ODI) centuries against an attack comprising of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin. He currently averages 74.11 against India, at a strike- rate of 97.65!

3. Young centurion

De Kock shares the record for the most number of ODI centuries by the age of 21 with Sri Lankan opener Upul Tharanga. Both men scored six ODI tons at the age of 21, though de Kock has the better record of the two.

4. Leader from an early age

De Kock was captain of South Africa’s Under-19 side for nine matches in January 2012 before being replaced so that he could focus on his batting. Ironically, he actually seemed to benefit from the added responsibility, as he hit three tons in nine matches at an average of 57.37 as skipper and just one century and seven half-centuries when he was not leading the same. His overall under-19 record remains formidable: 1,409 runs in 30 matches at an average of 48.58 and strike rate of 98.53 with four tons and seven fifties.

5. Bashful, but sharp

By all accounts, de Kock is quite shy and soft-spoken, often looking to his skipper AB de Villiers for approval before talking to journalists. However, his shyness is limited. “He is not innocent, don’t be mistaken. He knows how to give it back,” said McKenzie to Hindustan Times.

6. From “Tubby” to “Quinny”

According to a report in Hindustan Times, de Kock’s Highveld Lions teammate Neil McKenzie said that when de Kock was younger, they used to call him “Tubby Taylor” due to his rotund physique and the fact that he was compared to former Australian cricketer Mark Taylor. Apparently, de Kock hated the nickname, and worked hard to lose the fat. He succeeded, and within two months lost the embarrassing nickname. He is now called only “Quinny.”

7. Phallic ‘keepers!

The second Test of South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2014 played at Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo, saw a rather awkward scenario; the wicketkeepers of both sides were named “Dickwella” and “de Kock.”

8. Lovable and oft-pranked

Perhaps it is due to his boyish looks and shyness, but de Kock is quite well-liked by his teammates, many of whom joke around with him. When Chris Morris was selected for South Africa’s ODI squad for the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, he remarked, “I’ve got butterflies the size of Quinton de Kock in my tummy.”

In an ODI against Australia during the recent Zimbabwe Triangular Series, Dale Steyn gave de Kock the shock of his life. Both men went to catch a skier from Glenn Maxwell, and were in danger of colliding before Steyn pulled away. Having completed the catch, de Kock looked toward Steyn with a bright smile only to see Steyn advancing toward him seemingly in a rage. Poor de Kock looked absolutely petrified before Steyn went on to hug the young man and laugh at his fear. It was all just a prank, but de Kock must still have nightmares of an angry Steyn!

9. Fairytale romance

One of de Kock’s early successes was a score of 51 during a CLT20 match in 2012 between Highveld Lions (de Kock’s team) and Mumbai Indians. However, that match proved to be extremely special for de Kock for another reason; one of the cheerleaders during the match was a certain Sasha Hurly, who was quite enamoured by the talented left-hander.

“After the game, she came up and congratulated me. Later, I thanked her back over Facebook. As we started talking, it just clicked. I didn’t think it could start on the field,” de Kock told Hindustan Times. Hurly and de Kock have been dating ever since.

(Shiamak Unwalla is a proud Whovian and all-round geek who also dabbles in cricket writing as a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)