Cape Town – While the national men’s team continues to experience violent ups and downs, Quinton de Kock was a sound choice for ascension to the Proteas’ white-ball captaincy.
That is the view of former England skipper Mike Gatting, speaking on Table Mountain on Tuesday as one of the leaders of a Lord’s Taverners charity-geared tour of this city promoting Table Cricket, a game designed to accommodate people with various forms of disability.
The 62-year-old, who played 79 Tests and 92 one-day internationals for his country and led the Test cause between 1986 and 1988, told Sport24 that De Kock’s perceived limitations in a public relations capacity should not be considered an impediment to his captaincy of South Africa.
“Without a doubt, what happens between the dressing room walls is of broader importance: you’ve got to get the team on your side, first and foremost, and squeeze the best out of them as the captain,” Gatting said.
“Speaking for myself, when I got the England captaincy, I followed David (Gower, a fellow-Taverners tourist on this trip) who was quite eloquent, while I wasn’t really good at all in that area at the time that I got the job.
“It was hard, but my real challenge was still more to get the players right on board with me, and for me to understand how they perform under pressure.
“Quinton’s got a really big job on his hands but I think he’s a very good guy: I believe the players will look up to him and support him.”
Asked whether he had been surprised by England’s relatively clear-cut 3-1 Test series triumph in South Africa earlier this summer, Gatting replied: “I wouldn’t say it was that clear-cut, considering we lost the first Test!
“It was only once we won the second (at Newlands over New Year) that I felt we might go on to win the series because of the turning pitches, possibly.
“It wasn’t all doom and gloom for South Africa: they showed some really promising cricketers, and were missing (Lungi) Ngidi a little bit.
“But Anrich Nortje came through, looking very promising: from what I’ve seen so far he could be an asset, with a lovely action.
“It’s a question of how he looks after his body … if he did what Richard Hadlee did, he might last an awful long time. Dale Steyn was pretty good at that for a long period.
“I have liked seeing Temba Bavuma back in the team again more recently and doing well in several one-day matches against both Australia and (England).
“You’ll always see fine cricketers coming out of South Africa; there’s a great heritage here.”
*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing