2016-11-16

“I don’t see myself being like him, I just see the ball, hit the ball type thing, have my own certain game plan,” said Quinton de Kock when he was asked over his comparison with former Australian keeper’ Adam Gilchrist. Since then, talks over the comparison between both these players have fueled. It all started with the start of the three-Test series between Australia and South Africa. de Kock already had impressive numbers in Tests before this series but after playing the first two Tests, there was a spike in his stats, which made everyone compare with Gilchrist. The former Australian is among those players, who changed the thinking towards wicketkeeper-batsman.

With his attacking style in batting, Gilchrist revolutionised Test cricket. de Kock to possesses the same style of batting in Tests. In the first Test against Australia at Perth, he scored an attacking 101-ball 84-run knock, followed by another knock of 64 runs in the second innings. He did not stop there as his flow runs continued in the second Test at Hobart as well. De Kock took the game away from Australia’s grip with his match-changing ton at a strike-rate of just 72.72. At an age of only 23, de Kock seems to have achieved extra-ordinary numbers with his impressive batting and is compared with one of the greatest Australian cricketer.

Beside Tests, de Kock has also made his mark in limited-overs format apart from being hailed by many others as a modern great in the making. Former Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara is the latest one to praise this South African.

The below infographic will give the clear picture on who is better at the same stage.

info-1

The above infographic draws comparisons between these two players through runs, average and strike-rate. Gilchrist, in his first 12 Tests, had played against four teams India, New Zealand, Pakistan and West Indies. On the other hand, de Kock played against all Test playing nations barring Pakistan. Gilchrist played only in Australia and New Zealand in his first 12 Tests, whereas de Kock has played in various conditions across the globe, which includes Australia, Bangladesh, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. The only common thing is that both did not play in England and West Indies. Such things surely makes de Kock better than Gilchrist but then, the Australian cricketer played in a different era late 1990s and de Kock started his Test career in middle of 2010s.

Going a bit more deep, Gilchrist also captained Australian side in one of his first 12 Tests, while de Kock is nowhere seemed to be in the contention to lead the South African side in any format. Going by their age, de Kock is younger than when Gilchrist began his Test career.

Taking a different angle, de Kock’s average of 59.70 is much better than Gilchrist’s 40.33, while batting first in first 12 Tests. If the criteria is turned opposite by looking their numbers while fielding first, Gilchrist has better average than de Kock. Gilchrist averages 63 against de Kock’s 45.40 while fielding first.

Looking at the batting position both these batsmen played in their first 12 Tests, the numbers again create confusion on who is better. Gilchrist batted at 4th, 7th and 8th position. On the other hand, de Kock has batted at different positions 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th. Gilchrist’s batting average on those three position stands at 55, 63.25 and 37, while de Kock’s average in all those four positions are 66, 37, 34.83 and 74.33.

Talking about the home and away angle, Gilchrist did not get to play much away from home as compared to de Kock in his early days of Test cricket. Gilchrist played only three Tests away from home at 36, while de Kock played six Tests away at 50.77, which is quite impressive.

Well, both seem to be even at this stage of their Test cricket, if one considers batting position, playing in various conditions and era. The only thing which finally makes de Kock better than Gilchrist is his One-Day numbers but it will too early to judge that and need to wait till the end of his career to draw the perfect comparison.

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with CricLife and CricketCountry.com. He can be followed at @abhik2593)