June 30, 2017

Quinton de Kock's outstanding Test run

The South African wicketkeeper has consistently been among the runs over the last 18 months, and he will be key to the team's fortunes in the Test series in England
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Quinton de Kock has been in stunning form in both Tests and ODIs over the last 18 months © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Over the next six weeks, South Africa will look to right what has so far been a pretty disappointing tour to England for all their teams: they lost the ODI series and the T20I series by 2-1 margins, were knocked out disappointingly early in the Champions Trophy, while the A team was thrashed by England in the one-off Test and the three-match one-day series.

Going into the Tests, South Africa already have plenty going against them, apart from the above results: AB de Villiers' future is uncertain, and Faf du Plessis might miss the first Test, as might coach Russell Domingo. What they do have in their favour is the form of Quinton de Kock, the wicketkeeper-batsman whose exploits in both Tests and ODIs have been some of the brightest bits for South Africa over the last 18 months. Since the beginning of 2016, de Kock averages 59.38 from 13 Tests, and 49.22 from 32 ODIs. In the six ODIs he has played in England this season, he has got starts in all but one, notching up scores of 5, 98, 34, 23, 33, and 53.

His Test form over the last 18 months has been even more encouraging: in 21 innings he has passed 50 ten times, including three hundreds and four other scores between 80 and 99.

These are still fairly early days in de Kock's Test career, but his numbers at this stage are pretty similar to those of another wicketkeeper who used to bat left-handed, and used to hit the ball a fair distance. After 19 Tests, de Kock has scored 1333 runs at an average of 51.26 and a strike rate of 71.58; after 19 Tests, Adam Gilchrist had scored 1236 runs, averaging 53.73 at a strike rate of 78.27. The number of 50-plus scores are pretty similar as well.

There is little to differentiate the Test numbers of Adam Gilchrist and Quinton de Kock after 19 Tests © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

In the last 18 months, de Kock has averaged nearly 60 in 21 Test innings, numbers that put him right up with the best batsmen during this period: among those who have scored 1000-plus runs during this period, his average is next only to those of Steven Smith, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, and ahead of Kane Williamson (55.50), Joe Root (49.23) and David Warner (39.60). De Kock's feat of getting to 1000 Test runs in 23 innings has been bettered by only four South Africans: Graeme Smith (17), de Villiers (20), Eddie Barlow (21) and Graeme Pollock (22). Du Plessis has also got there in 23.

Over the last 18 months, only three batsmen have scored 1000-plus runs at a higher average than de Kock © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Among the top five in that list are the two wicketkeeper-batsmen who will be key members of their teams in the England-South Africa series. Jonny Bairstow has been as impressive as de Kock during this period, averaging 58.80 in the 17 Tests he played in 2016. England haven't yet played a Test in 2017, but that hasn't stopped Bairstow from scoring runs in other formats this season: in his last four international innings he has notched up scores of 51 (ODI v South Africa), 43 (ODI v Pakistan), 60 not out and 47 (T20Is v South Africa). Earlier in the season, he also scored a List A career best of 174 for Yorkshire versus Durham.

Bairstow and de Kock are also two of only four wicketkeeper-batsmen in Test history who have scored 1000-plus runs at 50-plus averages - the others are de Villiers and Andy Flower. (Gilchrist had a 50-plus average for much of his Test career, but a poor run towards the end meant he had to settle for a career average of 47.60.) The clash of the two wicketkeeper-batsmen could be a key battle in the upcoming series, and the runs they score could also hugely impact the lower-order contribution of each team.

Wicketkeepers with 1000-plus runs and 50-plus averages
Player Mat* Inns Runs Ave 100s 50s
 AB de Villiers  24  39  2067  57.41  7  7
 Quinton de Kock  18  28  1292  53.83  3  9
 Andy Flower  55  100  4404  53.70  12  23
 Jonny Bairstow  21  37  1682  50.96  3  9
* Tests in which they have kept wicket

De Kock's contributions in the series will also be key, as the South African top order isn't in top shape. De Villiers is missing, and du Plessis might miss the first Test. Hashim Amla averages a healthy 45.43 in Tests since the start of 2016, but he had a fairly ordinary tour of New Zealand earlier this year, scoring 153 runs in six innings. Also, Dean Elgar JP Duminy and Temba Bavuma all average less than 40 in this period (though Elgar only misses the mark marginally). Given that these batsmen will be up against a top-class England pace attack in conditions that could favour seam and swing, de Kock's contributions at No. 7, and his ability to play momentum-changing innings, could have a huge impact on South Africa's fortunes in the series.

South African batsmen in Tests since Jan 2016
Player Tests Runs Average 100s
 Quinton de Kock  13  1069  59.38  3
 Faf du Plessis  13  860  53.75  2
 Hashim Amla  14  1045  45.43  3
 Dean Elgar  13  879  39.95  3
 JP Duminy  12  708  35.40  2
 Temba Bavuma  14  704  35.20  1

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • grant on July 3, 2017, 17:46 GMT

    Zcoutcast why do you say that q de kock do not face real bowlers. Any bowler can get your wicket. Tendulkar was successful against the real bowlers but kept on coming out against Hansie cronje. When you face better bowling your concentration go up a notch. Its when you relax that you loose your wicket. If you are good in one era you would have been good in any era. You ajust to what and agaist who you play.

  • Johann on July 1, 2017, 12:16 GMT

    "Proper bowlers" as mentioned in these concept is an interesting concept. There are currently more active bowlers in the world who can bowl at speeds above 140kph - some above 150kph than ever before in history. Pace is not everything, of course. But many of them can also swing the ball and make it seam both ways. Furthermore, Gilchrist had most of what is probably meant by "proper bowlers" in his own team. Also, name me the proper bowlers in the England team between 1995 and 2005? Few and far between if you want to compare them with "proper bowlers" in the current era. In test cricket every era has its dose of "proper bowlers". There is also now more video and statistical analysis of batsmen than ever before, so a batsman's weaknesses are quickly found and then bowlers focus on that, cutting off scoring areas, applying pressure and getting them out. Give credit where it is due. YJB and QdK are legends in the making.

  • diren on July 1, 2017, 8:07 GMT

    QDK will soon be the best of this generation.... I would get QDK to open the innings with Elgar. Khun to bat at 7 and keep wicket.

  • Jay Gadsdon on July 1, 2017, 6:30 GMT

    With female players now playing the world cup i thought it would be a good question. who has most runs, wickets, for a male

  • ZCF on June 30, 2017, 16:42 GMT

    Rajesh Gilchrist was up against proper bowlers. Same with Andy Flower, so no comparison there. However, it's frustrating that AB played so low down the order, now we see the same with Quinton de Kock. Yes his keeping has improved remarkably that QdK can rightly consider himself among the best behind the stumps, but there's no need for him to keep. Especially with the current personnel South Africa has. He needs to be batting much higher. For those questioning Duminy, his Test record since our tour to Australia(past 7 months) has been brilliant, including two hundreds, so please give it a rest for now. He's done well at number 4. Elgar, QdK, Amla, JP, Faf(c), Bavuma, Klaasen(wk), Philander, Phehlukwayo, Rabada, Morkel

  • rynelr8107044 on June 30, 2017, 13:46 GMT

    hahaha you still consider JP Duminy as a batsmen

  • Virendra on June 30, 2017, 13:20 GMT

    The day QDK realises his full potential he will become the best batsman of the current crop leaving every one behind.

  • Siddharth on June 30, 2017, 11:14 GMT

    I'm surprised he's only played 50 odd innings it feels like QDK's been around for ages

  •   Danny Chin on June 30, 2017, 10:26 GMT

    Mckenzie will be a great batting coach soon. He learnt how to bat from his dad who was one of the best players of his time. He was especially good against short pitched stuff!

  • Clyde Chetty on June 30, 2017, 9:44 GMT

    I've never been the greatest fan of the coaching team of Domingo, Langeveldt, Mckenzie, though I feel that they deserved more credit than they received for our great test form. But just for the way they instructed our players to approach games in limited overs, especially since we arrived in England, is deserving of sacking by itself. Quinny has played his best cricket when allowed freedom, but judging by the way we've approached the first 15-20 overs, we've been playing a 90's / 00's way of 50 over cricket, trying to keep wickets in hand rather than making using of the fielding restrictions. I refuse to believe that our players, especially guys like Quinny and AB deliberately play this way, which leads me to believe that team management instructed our players to be cautious. If that is the case we need a fresh approach, ideally a coach from OZ or even WI in order for us to play a braver style of cricket.

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