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‘I’d rather win the World Cup and score no runs than score all the runs and not win a World Cup’ — De Kock

Proteas' Quinton de Kock plays a shot during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match against New Zealand at MCA International Stadium on November 1 2023 in Pune, India.
Proteas' Quinton de Kock plays a shot during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match against New Zealand at MCA International Stadium on November 1 2023 in Pune, India.
Image: Pankaj Nangia/Gallo Images

When you’ve scored four hundreds, made more than 500 runs in a month and given every ounce of yourself to your team’s cause, it’s natural that those with whom you’re sharing the changeroom might wonder if announcing your retirement is premature.

Among the Proteas players, there’s been a bit of: “Are you sure Quinny?’ ‘Do you really want to quit ODIs?”

“I’m set on my decision, this is the end of my 50-over career,” Quinton de Kock said on Friday.

“I’ve had one or two words (from teammates) said to me, that I should think about it, but I don’t think that is going to happen.” 

Might the next ODI World Cup, which is being hosted in South Africa in 2027, prove tempting?

“You never know. Strange things happen in life, there could be a possibility, but I don’t think so. There are some good youngsters coming through who will take my spot as soon as I leave, and they will deal with the national duties. I don’t think I will be coming back, but you never know.”

So there’s a chance, albeit a small one. But it’s unlikely. De Kock is fairly set in his ways. When he quit the Test arena in 2021 it came in the middle of a big home series with India. That decision was hastened by the arrival of he and wife Sasha’s baby, while the restrictive Covid-10 bubble was another factor.

Having made the decision that this year’s World Cup would be his last hurrah in the 50-over format, De Kock said he was giving every bit of himself to the team’s cause.

“I’m trying to give it my all, trying to help wherever I can, for those guys who haven’t been to a World Cup before, help them mentally and strategically.”

His teammates have noted it, with Rassie van der Dussen saying it was something he hadn’t seen from De Kock “in a very long time”.

His own output with the bat is like nothing any South African player has produced at a World Cup previously. AB de Villiers managed two hundreds in 2015, De Kock has four in this edition. Jacques Kallis scored 485 runs at the 2007 tournament, De Kock, with at least three matches remaining, has 545. 

They’re lovely personal accolades, but they’re not what De Kock’s after.

“I’d rather win the World Cup and score no runs than score all the runs and not win a World Cup. The accolades are great, but if we don’t win the World Cup it means nothing to me. It’s about looking at the bigger picture of why we are here,” he said.

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