Freshness the Key to World Cup Success for De Kock

South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock believes his decision to retire from Test cricket last December will pay dividends at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

De Kock’s desire to spend more time with his family was the primary reason he decided to concentrate on the shorter versions of the game.

He scored 3,300 runs in 54 Test matches with an average of almost 39, racking up six centuries and 22 half-centuries. De Kock also bagged 232 dismissals behind the stumps during his Test career.

The 29-year-old has been an integral part of the T20 team since making his debut against New Zealand in 2012.

De Kock has scored 1,894 runs in 69 matches at an average of just over 31 and claimed 77 dismissals.

His 140-run knock in just 70 deliveries for Lucknow Super Giants in the 2022 Indian Premier League perfectly highlighted his fearsome power. De Kock’s tally included ten sixes and ten fours.

In a recent interview with Betway Insider, De Kock insisted that quitting the Test arena has made him more effective in one-day and T20 cricket.

“The biggest thing since I retired from Test cricket is that there’s probably not so much pressure on my body anymore,” he said.

“I’m still playing loads of cricket, but T20s are easier on the body than Test matches, when you have to come back for a few long days in a row.

“For me, my body being fresh means that I stay mentally fresh. I can play for a few different teams and stay fairly relaxed. That’s the benefit of only playing white-ball cricket.”

South Africa head into the World Cup as one of the more fancied teams despite never previously progressing beyond the semi-finals.

They reached the last four in 2009 and 2014, but have never been able to give themselves a shot at lifting the prestigious trophy.

The 2021 T20 World Cup was another hard luck story for the Proteas, with the team exiting at the group stage despite winning four of their five matches.

South Africa were defeated by Australia in their first match, but bounced back with victories over West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and England.

They ended the opening phase level on eight points with England and Australia, but finished third in the standings on net run rate.

Their recent T20 series victory over England has sparked talk that they can go all the way this time around and De Kock will be integral to their hopes of success.

De Kock struggled for runs against England, but his previous career record suggest he is a man to be feared when the tournament gets underway.

Despite the team heading into the World Cup in good form, De Kock believes they will also need luck on their side if they are to emerge victorious.

“At the World Cup, it’s anybody’s game,” he added. “The team that’s in form is not necessarily going to be the team that’s going to win it, you also need a bit of luck.

“Last year we were a bit unlucky to only lose one game and not even make a play-off. If we just stick to what we’ve been doing, our process, we’ll do really well.”

South Africa have been drawn in Group 2 for the Super 12 stage alongside Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and two teams who progress from the first round.

The begin their campaign against either Ireland, Scotland, West Indies or Zimbabwe at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Monday, October 24.

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