Due to a hand injury acquired on the recent India trip, Quinton de Kock missed both warm-up matches against the England Lions last week in Taunton and Worcester.
Although the 29-year-old recovered to play in the final two T20Is of the five-match series against India, there were still doubts when the Proteas arrived in England.
De Kock will almost certainly return to his customary starting position with partner Janneman Malan. The two are establishing a good partnership at the top of the order for the Proteas, having scored 564 runs in nine matches at an average of 62.66. This contains a century stand and two partnerships worth more than 50.
Furthermore, De Kock’s 129 ODI experience will prove vital to a Proteas squad that has already lost captain and top-order batsman Temba Bavuma for the England tour. With an elbow injury, Bavuma was ruled out.
With De Kock averaging 65.37 against the world champions compared to his overall career average of 46.0, England’s bowlers will be on high alert. In just 12 innings, he has three centuries and three half-centuries against England.
I Am Sure Ben Stokes Is Lining Me Up Already: Keshav Maharaj
Meanwhile Keshav Maharaj the stand-in skipper when asked about his match-up with Ben Stokes, said, “I’m sure he is based on the way he’s been playing in county cricket hitting the ball to all parts of the ground (laughs). But I think that’s where all the video analysis and all those things come into play. Hopefully, we can combat that as a team with good tactics.”
On Temba Bavuma, Maharaj said, “I think Temba has done exceptionally well since he’s stepped up to be captain. He is a very good leader and demands respect on the field. Also, the style that we play, we always needed someone to play an anchor-type of innings. Fingers crossed, he is ready for the World Cup and has recovered from his injury. I know he’s a fighter, so he’ll be there.
Likely Proteas team:
Quinton de Kock, Janneman Malan, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram/Kyle Verreynne, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj (captain), Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi.