With Proteas coach Russell Domingo knowing and acknowledging his future position is out of his hands‚ the least he knows he can do is hedge his bets on players who can come through for him.
One of them is Quinton de Kock, 24. Having swept the stage at the Cricket South Africa awards on Saturday night‚ the wicketkeeper-batsman has a point to prove, according to Domingo.
Having had an underwhelming 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia after his unexpectedly quick recovery from an ankle injury‚ next month’s Champions Trophy could be the perfect stage for De Kock to write himself into folklore.
“He has had a fantastic year and he has something like 12 hundreds [in 79 matches] and that’s a fantastic return‚” Domingo said.
“But I know Quinton is desperate to do well in one of these ICC events.
“He’ll be the first to admit that he didn’t do well in the previous 50-over World Cup. “He has a point to prove.” Out-of-form players would have concerned Domingo, but he had a different way of looking at things.
Hashim Amla had a welcome return to run-scoring with two hundreds for his Indian Premier League franchise, while Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers had indifferent sessions for Rising Pune Supergiants and Royal Challengers Bangalore respectively.
With the Proteas known for not rocking up at ICC events‚ Domingo said his charges could have a perfect excuse of finding form when it matters.
They had to make up for their mortifying World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand.
The lessons from that Auckland thriller are still available for Domingo to apply when they navigate India‚ Sri Lanka and Pakistan in their group.
“We can take a lot of comfort from our bilateral series – we delivered in different conditions in different situations.
“We beat India at a packed Mumbai‚ we beat New Zealand at a noisy Auckland and we’ve beaten England at home in a must-win game at the end.
“I know I’m going into tournament at ease, because the team has been under pressure situations and they’ve come through them‚” Domingo said.
Meanwhile, the Proteas are hoping to have skipper Du Plessis ready for the opening match of the three ODIs against England at Headingly on Wednesday next week.
Du Plessis is the only player in the Proteas squad of 15 that left for England yesterday with an injury.
Team doctor Mohammed Moosajee allayed fears and said a plan was in place to have Du Plessis ready.