“It hasn’t cleared my schedule – at least not this year,” said De Kock, in his first press contact since leaving Tests. “I’ve been roped in to play a few leagues, but that’s my own consequence. I’m happy to do it. It’s still a sacrifice, but I’m slowly getting to an age where I have to think about where I want to go.” in my career. As long as I can do it at my own pace, I’m happy.”
After De Kock returned from paternity leave in January to play in South Africa’s whiteball matches against India, he had almost two months off before a series against Bangladesh, but he has been on the road ever since. He played for the Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL, for South Africa against India, is now in England, and will also play against The Hundred and the CPL before another series of white balls in India followed by the T20 World Cup .
And he acknowledged that it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide what to participate in and that for many players dropping a format is the only option. “It’s going to be difficult for players – three formats is a lot and it looks like there will be more matches on the calendar,” he said. “Players have to make decisions individually and if they think they can do it [play all three formats], I’m happy for them. But guys have to make the decisions in their own hands. For me, I’m happy where I am.”
Despite many predicting a slow death for ODI cricket, De Kock is still confident in the format, hopes South Africa will play more 50-over cricket, and has indicated he will stick with it for now. “I want to say we should play more games, but I don’t see where,” he said. “The [ODI] game is doing well for itself with the way players are doing and from a competitive position in batting and bowling. There is a future for it and many of us still want to win 50-over World Cups. There’s a lot to play for.”
de Kock encouraged newer players to continue pursuing all three formats, saying it only gets hard to fit all of them in as you get older or your priorities change. “When you’re still young, you have to play all three formats and get certain things done in your career,” he said. “It starts to get harder as you get older and the body doesn’t cooperate like it used to. It’s just a management thing.”