Key for struggling Quinton de Kock: don't think about Jeetan Patel, says South African skipper

South African dangerman Quinton de Kock has been dismissed four times out of four by New Zealand's Jeetan Patel this tour.
DIANNE MANSON/GETTY IMAGES

South African dangerman Quinton de Kock has been dismissed four times out of four by New Zealand's Jeetan Patel this tour.

Short of sending Quinton de Kock for some hypnotherapy, South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis has a simple solution to try and end Jeetan Patel's remarkable hold on his destructive batsman.

Don't over-think it. In fact, don't think about it at all.

"The strength of Quinton as a cricketer is he doesn't over-analyse things too much. He's as simple as they come when it comes to thinking about the game or not thinking about the game. He's an instinctive, talented player," du Plessis said.

Offspinner Jeetan Patel looks set to play his first test on home turf in Wellington, to target  South Africa's Quinton ...
JOHN COWPLAND/PHOTOSPORT

Offspinner Jeetan Patel looks set to play his first test on home turf in Wellington, to target South Africa's Quinton de Kock.

"Yes Jeetan has got the best of him this series but the skill that Quinton has will always find a way. I see him coming out of this and having some success against him."

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At age 36, New Zealand's rejuvenated offspinner is poised for his first test at his beloved Basin Reserve, at the expense of Mitchell Santner on Thursday.

Part of the reason is his four-from-four record against de Kock on this tour, in the final two one-day internationals and the drawn Dunedin test. Both test dismissals were classic offspinners to the left-hander and left him flummoxed, ensuring extra scrutiny for the rest of the series.

For a man who averages 47 in tests and 44 in ODIs, it's not the kind of pressure de Kock is used to but for New Zealand it's a welcome point of difference against their powerhouse opponents.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis will have plenty of bowling firepower on the bouncy Basin Reserve, notably Kagiso Rabada.
JASON REED/REUTERS

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis will have plenty of bowling firepower on the bouncy Basin Reserve, notably Kagiso Rabada.

South Africa have never lost a test in Wellington since their first visit in 1932. In six tests they've won four and drawn two, and came very close to victory on their last visit in 2012 when a Kane Williamson century forced a draw against a fired up Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

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The latter two return, with Morkel showing signs of his hostile old form and steep bounce on the slower Dunedin surface.

"That [2012 test] will be big for them. Morne knows about the wind and he's spoken about it. That experience he has is vital to the team and to the bowling unit. The confidence they take from that is definitely a good thing for us. I'm not sure if conditions will be the same as five years ago," du Plessis said.

Williamson, also, carries the weight of expectation after his 16th test century in Dunedin, 130 as the hosts claimed a first innings lead of 33. Even more so without the injured Ross Taylor (torn calf).

"I said before the series if you can get rid of Williamson and Taylor there's a lot of pressure on the batting lineup. We couldn't get rid of Kane in the first test and they were successful, so there lies the secret."

Du Plessis hoped to dominate from in front after the ebb and flow of the Dunedin test on a slow pitch that made fast scoring difficult. Still, there was no room for slip-ups with the series now reduced to two matches with only Hamilton to come.

"When it comes to a two-test series you have to be a little more street smart, because it can go both ways. You set up a game that's 50-50 and go 1-0 down in the series there's no coming back from that. It's about getting yourself into a position where you can try and make sure you win."

 - Stuff

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