Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: De Kock too Valuable as a Batsman to Continue Keeping

De Kock too Valuable as a Batsman to Continue Keeping

Quinton de Kock of South Africa crouches in wicket-keeping kit

When Quinton de Kock was wrapped on the fingers during the Proteas second innings in the Boxing Day, there was immediate concern from everyone with an interest in the team.

De Kock, like most international wicketkeepers, has had a string of problems with his fingers.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The stylish left-hander's innings of 95 and 34 in the first Test against England were crucial to the Proteas cause and without him, the batting card would have been a shambles. The Proteas can ill-afford to lose him as a batsman.

De Kock is a very good wicketkeeper, but the question is, does his value behind the stumps justify the risk of losing him as a batsman and should the Proteas consider taking the gloves off him?

The last time England visited the Proteas were trying to crowbar the wicketkeeping gloves off of AB de Villiers for pretty much the same reason. It had long been obvious that even though de Villiers was very good behind the stumps the risk of injury was not being offset by his keeping.

The rigours of keeping wicket in Test cricket are simply too great for South Africa to continue to deploy their best batsman behind the stumps.

De Kock has broken multiple fingers and being asked to leap into the air to catch 140 km/h bouncers sometimes twice an over for hours on end is not a sustainable practice.

On top of the obvious risks, there could be multiple benefits from De Kock surrendering the gloves. Two solid franchise cricketers in Rudi Second and Kyle Verreynne can keep wicket, and both have shown they have the potential to be handy middle-order batsmen to boot.

Second is in the Proteas squad as cover for De Kock, but it seems likely that he will have to wait until the incumbent keeper breaks down before he gets an opportunity.

The Proteas may fear throwing the balance of the side out if they take the gloves off De Kock while there is also a school of thought that suggests he plays better while keeping and is best suited to batting at five or six. As the team's best stroke player he should be able to make the number four position his own, but it remains a risk to promote him when he has acted as a safety net for the misfiring top order.

The risk of injury keeping to the Proteas pace attack and the spin of Keshav Maharaj is genuine though and could leave the team exposed if he takes a knock.

Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets.

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