The beauty about sport is that captaincy doesn’t necessarily mean the individual saddled with that responsibility is the most important player in the team.
But in Quinton de Kock’s case, he most definitely is.
An inexperienced Proteas outfit, following a washout in Dharamshala, will play India in Mohali on Wednesday in a truncated T20 series of just two matches and are relying heavily on their gifted wicketkeeper-batsman to lead from the front with the willow.
It’s not a situation that’s placing undue pressure on him, apparently.
“I’m not too concerned,” De Kock said on Tuesday.
“I regard (the captaincy) as another stepping stone in my career. It gives me an extra bit of responsibility. We’ll see how it goes. It can obviously affect me negatively or positively. I’m unsure how it’s going to affect me. I’m still hoping to do the best I can.”
The 26-year-old was handed two matches as skipper in last year’s ODI series in Sri Lanka, where he performed reasonably well, stroking a 57-ball 54 in a dead rubber.
However, even if De Kock does make runs, there’s another possibly more important dimension to the matter.
In what manner will he make his runs?
Will it be typically fluent or will he be more intent on being sedate because he’s one of the few senior batters in the order?
It was also pointed out to him that he doesn’t have the luxury anymore of being surrounded by the likes of AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla, who allowed him the space to play his naturally attacking game.
“Those guys gave me lots of room to play the way I want,” said De Kock.
“I don’t see why that would change with them here or not. In their careers, they also had to go through the same growing pains as we’re expecting to experience a bit at the moment. I’ll take it as it comes. We’ve had discussions, but we acknowledge we’re a young leadership group.”
He can count though on the fiery Kagiso Rabada doing his utmost best in leading the bowling group, especially in the mission to tame his brilliant counterpart, Virat Kohli.
“They’re great players in their own right. Virat’s the batsman that he is, KG is the bowler he is. They play the game positively. It could be a great battle to watch.”