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Take a walk around the practice drills of the Sunrisers Hyderabad and you will find a young 20- year old trying to hone his batting skills with a lot of keenness and confidence. In his first stint with the IPL, South African keeper-batsman,Quinton De Kock might not have got the run charts rolling, or made his presence felt, but in De Kock’s ability, his franchise trusts and so does his national side – South Africa.
A string of vital knocks in the previous edition of the Champions League T20s had eyeballs following him. That showing earned him a national call up and an IPL contract as well. From being vested upon the responsibility of possibly taking the mantle over from Mark Boucher to making the most of an IPL season, one cannot help but imagine how the 20-year old is coping up with so much of responsibility when he is still finding his feet in the gentleman’s game.
In this exclusive chat with IPLT20.com, young Quinton De Kock opens up about his aspirations, his fondness towards the IPL and aspects of the game he is working on.
Below is an account of the interaction with the young and hardworking wicket-keeper.
At the age of 20, you don South African colors, are touted as SA’s future prospect and are now a part of the IPL! Is that to much responsibility for one so young, to take over the mantle from former wicket-keeping greats?
Yes (with a smile)! Look there is a lot of responsibility, but it is a path that I have chosen in my career. I am just taking one step at a time and trying to enjoy everything and going about my business. There have been a lot of great wicket-keepers and Mark Boucher is certainly one of them. At the moment, AB De Villiers has put up his hand for the keeper’s spot and I know there are a lot of expectations from me as well. The only thing I can do is to work at my game and just do the best I can do.
With a few international games under the belt and a string of good performances in domestic T20 competitions, did you expect an IPL call?
No, not at all! I was not expecting a call from the IPL. After the Champions League I insisted my name be put forward for the IPL, just in case I do get picked up. Sunrisers Hyderabad picked me up for which I am grateful. I was very happy and excited when I heard about the news.
You have got three games in the IPL so far. Are you disappointed you could not make the most of it?
I feel people are thinking I have yet not got used to the Indian wickets yet, but that is not true. If you go back and see my dismissals, two out of the three were to brilliant catches. It is not something that is in my control. I have just gone back to my basics, working on my technique and trying to take things forward from there.
Do you think you are just one hit away from striking form?
I do not think it takes one knock to get back into form. It takes a couple of knocks and a lot of consistency to open up people’s eyes. I have not made an impact in the games I have got, but my time will come again though.
How has facing Amit Mishra and Karan Sharma in the nets helped you play spin?
India is known for spin bowlers and it helps a lot to understand how to play spin while facing spinners like Mishra and Karan at the nets. You get to know about the turn and bounce and how you have to adapt and change your batting style to play spin bowling. I am learning a lot and I hope I can put them to use in the games to come and in the future if at all I get to tour India.
SRH captain, keeper - Kumar Sangakkara; has he helped your game?
Sanga just sheds his experience to everyone. He is such a great person; he is always there to help you technique wise or keeping wise. He is always guiding me and giving me valuable inputs. It is great to be a part of the SRH setup that has so many great ambassadors of cricket.
How different is the IPL experience from other T20 leagues back home?
The IPL experience has been completely different for me. The crowds have been fantastic, very different from the crowds back home in South Africa. The crowds in South Africa just give you a polite clap, but here the passion for the game is on a different level.
How does it feel when the crowd cheers for you when you walk on the field?
I do not think they clap for me. I am not well known here. If I walk with Dale Steyn or some other player from the team whom the people love, then everybody cheers for him or asks for a picture or an autograph. But I am really happy to see the support that our team receives in our home ground.
Who has been your cricketing inspiration as a kid?
I used to be in awe of Adam Gilchrist when I was young, but now I cannot be because we (SRH) are playing against them (KXIP) in the competition.
How important is this IPL stint for you?
I just want to take every bit of experience I can from this IPL, learn and train as much as I can in the conditions on offer. I am going to wait for my opportunities, if it does not come this year, I am going to wait for the next year and display my skills.
With a five-wicket haul against the Delhi Daredevils, Jaidev Unadkat helped Royal Challengers Bangalore win a crucial contest at the Feroz Shah Kotla. The left-arm pacer started off by claiming the dangerous DD openers –Mahela JayawardeneandVirender Sehwagand then returned to strike a double blow in the 17th over. Even as the host batters put up a fight with the willow, the pacer struck to removeUnmukt Chand who had anchored the DD innings and Kedar Jadhav to keep his team on top. When Irfan Pathan and Morne Morkel threatened to take the match away from the visitors, he defended 19 runs in the last over to help snatch a four-run win. In that process, he sent back Morkel and finished with a five for 25.
While speaking to iplt20.com after his match winning performance, Unadkat said varying the pace and bowling the slower ones helped him to successfully bowl his quota of four overs.
Excerpts from the interview:
What was the plan while bowling to Mahela Jayawardene and Virender Sehwag?
We did not planned for those two but we had done overall planning that we would try to bowl in the right areas and keep varying the pace. The wicket was a little dry. And we stuck to the plan and it was a good thing that I got the two wickets. We needed those wickets in the Power-Plays early on.
When you came on to bowl, Sehwag was timing the ball well. What was going through your mind and what was your plan?
If you have things like that in mind then the ball won’t fall in the right areas. There are chances of going for boundaries so it was better for me to sick to my plans and I was be clear in mind of what I wanted to bowl to him and the rest we could figure out. My plan was to vary the pace. The batters were hitting the ball really well with the pace and the wicket too was a little dry. I bowled a lot of slower ones and it worked for me on Friday.
What was the plan when you were handed the ball in the last over and Irfan Pathan was striking it well?
I had bowled three good overs before that, so my confidence was high. I feel we had to win this match. In the last two matches we had lost close games. I was backing myself to bowl six good balls and think about it a ball at a time. And once I reached my bowling mark, I went off to bowl according to my plan no matter what the result.
It was a crucial win given the position in the points table. Your take on the win
Thursday’s was a very motivational performance. It was very important for us to win. We had lost close games in the last two-three encounters so this was really important and I am really happy that things went our way at the right point of time.
What are your strengths?
My strength is varying the pace and bowling the Yorkers. My favourite delivery is the slower one that I bowl.