South Africa captain Quinton de Kock has decided to go on a mental health break for a couple of weeks and will not be available for the upcoming domestic T20 tournament, ESPNCricinfo reported. De Kock has taken this decision on medical advice, given that South Africa doesn’t have any international commitments in the coming month.
Andrew Breetzke, chief executive of the SA Cricketers’ Association (SACA) confirmed the development to ESPNCricinfo, saying that the limited-overs and Test captain Quinton De Kock will be taking “a few weeks” off to recharge and rejuvenate after a mentally draining job of captaining the team in all formats for the past few months.
Cricket South Africa To Support Quinton De Kock Through This Process: Andrew Breetzke
Quinton de Kock had taken over the reins of the South African Test team in a temporary capacity during the current season after Faf du Plessis decided to step down from his role. De Kock, South Africa’s cricketer of the year in 2020, returned from Pakistan last week, as South Africa suffered a two-Test series defeat during which he struggled as a batsman and was criticized for his captaincy.
“SACA and Cricket South Africa will continue to support him through this process,” said Breetzke.
Last month, De Kock had talked about the mental strain of living in bio-secure ‘bubbles’, a hard reality for cricketers in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation. He was speaking after a Test series win over Sri Lanka at home and said that continued living in the bubble was unsustainable and he described the life in quarantine and away from family as unsettling.
South Africa’s director of cricket Graeme Smith said earlier on Monday that all of the country’s contracted players would play in the T20 tournament, as well as the remaining matches in a four-day competition. However, later when the six franchises announced their squads, the names of Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis were missing.
All the T20 matches will be played in Durban between February 19 and 29, with players staying in a bio-secure environment.
“We are trying to manage these bubble lives that the players are spending time in, the mental health and welfare of players. But we need to do get our (national) players playing. We’ve got a lot of growth to happen in our men’s game and for players to step up,” Smith said.