NEW Proteas sensation Quinton de Kock returns to domestic cricket on Thursday determined to press his case for Sunfoil Test honours after taking the Momentum one-day series against India by storm.
De Kock’s three centuries in three one-day games was not enough to earn a place in the South African Test side, but he will have a fresh opportunity to state his case when the bizhub Highveld Lions host the Sunfoil Dolphins in a Sunfoil Series encounter at Senwes Park.
“He’s been at training and the boys are really happy for him,” said Lions skipper Stephen Cook. “They’ve seen the work that he’s put in first hand, so the boys are very proud.
“He turned 21 on Tuesday, so for him to have achieved what he did before the age of 21 is fantastic. It’s great to have him back in our side - he brings that flair and exuberance.
“There’s been talk about him stepping up to Test cricket, and I think the message has been unofficially put out that he should go back to domestic cricket and get some runs against the red ball, so there’s certainly no lack of motivation on his side.
“He loves to bat at Potch - I think he got a couple of hundreds there last season, including a big 190 against the Cobras - so another big hundred will go a long way to helping us in the game.”
With Thami Tsolekile released from the Proteas squad on Wednesday, De Kock is unlikely to wear the gloves and may shift up to open the batting.
Although there is concern over the fitness of Chris Morris, Cook expects the fast bowler to play which would be a relief given that Hardus Viljoen is suspended.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, will just be hoping to play some cricket after the Durban weather allowed just 102 overs in their last two fixtures. That has given captain Morne van Wyk time to consider how a similar situation can be avoided in future.
“Maybe we can think about playing this first batch of Sunfoil Series fixtures away from home, and when the weather gets better in March play our four-day games at home then,” he said.
“That would obviously help us out because what’s disappointing is that you don’t play a ball and it’s almost as if you’re punished for it. You get five points, but if other guys play two innings they can get anything from seven to eight points if they play two decent innings.”
David Miller is back in the Dolphins squad after completing his limited overs duties with the Proteas.
HEAD TO HEAD – bizhub Highveld Lions vs. Sunfoil Dolphins
Matches Played 18
Lions Win 06
Dolphins Wi 03
MATCH STATS (SUNFOIL SERIES)
BIZHUB HIGHVELD LIONS
553/8* (Potchefstroom 2007/2008)
567/9* (Johannesburg 2011/2012)
140 (Durban 2010/2011)
147 (Durban 2007/2008)
Highest Individual Score
186 Alviro Petersen (Johannesburg 2011/2012)
208 Hashim Amla (Johannesburg 2011/2012)
Best bowling in a match
12/101 Chris Morris (Johannesburg 2012/2013)
7/45 Mthokozisi Shezi (Durban 2009/2010)