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‘I want a life after cricket,’ says Quinton de Kock ahead of ICC World Cup 2023

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Quinton de Kock is a cricketing maverick who is set to bid farewell to ODI cricket after the conclusion of the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023 in India.

He enjoys nothing more than his time away from the game by going fishing and playing golf, and at the age of 30 reckons he has served his time in the international arena.

“I’ve played a lot of cricket already,” says the stroke-playing batsman-wicketkeeper.

He retired from Test cricket in 2022, and the ICC World Cup 2023 will bring down the curtain on his ODI career at an age when many players are reaching maturity.

He will remain available for Twenty20 internationals — but, it seems, only when they don’t clash with more lucrative franchise opportunities.

De Kock is expected to miss a T20 series against India in December because he has signed a contract to play in Australia’s Big Bash League.

Cricket South Africa has seemingly bowed to the reality that they will have to be flexible if they want star players to be available for major tournaments such as next year’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies and United States.

De Kock first played for the Gauteng provincial team as a 15-year-old schoolboy in an unofficial match against a touring team from Durham.

He made his List A debut at 16, played first-class cricket at 17 and appeared for South Africa in a T20 international just four days after his 20th birthday.

Far from overawed at his rapid ascent to cricketing stardom, the talented left-hander has resolutely done things his own way.

The story is told that the 15-year-old De Kock didn’t bother to put on a thigh pad when he went out to face a Durham attack which included England fast bowlers Steve Harmison, Liam Plunkett and Graham Onions.

“I honestly can’t remember, but it is probably true,” he says.

He had almost immediate success at every level and reeled off three successive one-day international centuries against India before he turned 21.

Going into the ICC World Cup 2023, he has taken his tally of ODI hundreds to 17, opening the batting and invariably scoring at a rapid rate.

He has scored six Test centuries and one in a T20 international.

In an age of relentless reference to video analysis, De Kock said early in his career that he didn’t study potential opponents.

That remains his philosophy.

“I basically play what’s in front of me. You can look at videos, but it’s not the same as being in the middle.”

Nor does he think about cricket or practice when he’s away from the game.

He lives in Knysna, a popular tourist town on a large lagoon some five hours drive from Cape Town, where cricket can easily be forgotten.

“I like golf, fishing, spending time with my family,” he says.

“I don’t touch a bat when I am at home. We play so much cricket that it’s like riding a bicycle. A couple of nets when I join up with the team and I’m ready to play.”

One of his regular golfing partners is legendary former South Africa batsman Barry Richards, who at 78 is old enough to be his grandfather.

“We see each other almost every day because we live in the same complex.”

Do they talk about cricket? “Not really. We might talk a bit about it but he’s like me, we talk mainly about other things.”

“I’ll give the World Cup my best shot. I would like to tick off an ICC (International Cricket Council) event,” he says.

After that, he might play T20 cricket for a maximum of five or six years before he walks away from the sport.

“I don’t see myself being involved in the game in any way when I stop playing. I want a life after cricket.”

READ: Kane Williamson targets ICC World Cup 2023 return

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