Quinton de Kock: The Unconventional Cricketer Who Follows His Own Path
Quinton de Kock, the 30-year-old South African cricketing sensation, is a maverick both on and off the field. While many cricketers dedicate their entire lives to the sport, de Kock has always had a unique perspective on his career. As Quinton de Kock approaches the twilight of his international cricket journey, he’s already carved an unconventional path that sets him apart from the crowd.
De Kock’s love for cricket started at a young age. Quinton de Kock first represented the Gauteng provincial team as a 15-year-old schoolboy in an unofficial match against a touring team from Durham. From there, Quinton de Kock progressed rapidly through the ranks, making his List A debut at 16, playing first-class cricket at 17, and appearing in a South African T20 international just four days after his 20th birthday.
What makes Quinton de Kock stand out is his unorthodox approach to the game. Stories of his early days in cricket reveal his fearless attitude. It’s said that as a 15-year-old, he faced an attack by England fast bowlers Steve Harmison, Liam Plunkett, and Graham Onions without even bothering to put on a thigh pad. When asked about this, he nonchalantly remarks, “I honestly can’t remember, but it is probably true.”
De Kock’s rise to stardom was swift. Quinton de Kock notched up three consecutive one-day international centuries against India before turning 21. As Quinton de Kock heads into the upcoming Cricket World Cup, he boasts an impressive record of 17 one-day international hundreds, typically opening the batting and scoring at a brisk pace. He has also notched six Test centuries and one in a T20 international.
However, his career has not been without its controversies. During the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2021, de Kock made headlines when he refused to “take the knee” in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. It wasn’t a statement against the cause but rather a protest against the way it was handled. This incident occurred during his tenure as the captain of the South African team in all three formats. Despite this, de Kock admits, “I don’t mind captaining, but I was pretty happy to hand it over. It’s not really in my character.”
In an era dominated by video analysis and meticulous preparation, de Kock stands out with his straightforward approach. He has consistently stated that he doesn’t study potential opponents; instead, he plays what’s in front of him. He believes that while videos can be helpful, nothing beats the experience of being out in the middle.
Off the field, de Kock’s interests extend beyond cricket. Quinton de Kock resides in Knysna, a scenic tourist town located five hours’ drive from Cape Town. Here, cricket often takes a back seat to his other passions, including golf, fishing, and spending time with his family. Surprisingly, Quinton de Kock rarely touches a cricket bat when he’s at home. We play cricket so frequently, Quinton de Kock says, that it’s like riding a bicycle. I only need a few nets when I join the squad to be ready to play.
One of his regular golfing partners is the legendary former South African batsman Barry Richards, who, at 78 years old, could easily be his grandfather. While they do cross paths frequently, cricket is not the primary topic of their conversations. De Kock notes, “Not really. We might talk about it a little, but he’s like me; we mostly chat about other things.”
Looking ahead, de Kock is committed to giving his best shot at the Cricket World Cup. Quinton de Kock hopes to check off an ICC (International Cricket Council) event from his list of achievements. Beyond that, he envisions a future where he might play T20 cricket for another five or six years before bidding farewell to the sport. What sets him apart is his clear vision for life after cricket. “I don’t see myself as being involved in the game in any way when I stop playing,” he says.I want a life after cricket.”
In a world where cricket often consumes players’ lives entirely, Quinton de Kock’s unique journey serves as a reminder that there’s more to life than just the sport, even for one of its brightest stars.