LSG’s Quinton de Kock has been rarely observed showing his emotion to the public. So the DY Patil Stadium crowd in Mumbai on Wednesday and the far larger television audience watching the Lucknow Super Giants play Kolkata Knight Riders should count themselves fortunate.
De Kock dived to both knees as his cut-off Andre Russell rocketed beyond the boundary for his second IPL tonne off 59 deliveries to a 70-ball 140 not out. His helmeted head continued to plummet, bumping into the ground. As he knelt, he struck the ground. Then he stood up and punched his bat, giving batting gloves a new lease on life. He let out a primal yawp into the night.
De Kock has six Test and 17 ODI hundreds to his name. Before Wednesday, he had hit 14 more first-class, list A, or T20 hundred. Indeed no one has ever celebrated in this way. He has a habit of raising his bat with little visible pride or enthusiasm and giving his applauders a drowsy schoolboy face.
Wednesday was unique. LSG’s Quinton de Kock was the full contents of a brand new container of toothpaste hurled soaring out of the bathroom window with one powerful push of both fists shortly after reaching his century. He was a penguin freed from slogging the ice and flying across the sea with abandon. For the first time, he was allowed to leave the house after dark. And he’s not returning. He jolted me with real emotions.
“It was just a bit of frustration that came out,” de Kock told a television interviewer afterward. “The last couple of games, just the way I’ve been getting out… I’ve been feeling very good and nothing has been coming of it. So it was nice to come out…and the feeling of actually having done it; just a bit of a release. I was trying to keep it in but when I let go it just happened.”
De Kock has reached 50 three times in 13 innings in this year’s IPL before Wednesday. His strike rate has risen each time, rising from 135.56 to 153.85 to 172.41 to almost 200 in his most recent assault. De Kock concluded with a flourish in the penultimate over of the game, making none other than Tim Southee seem like a bowling machine as he smashed a hattrick of more or less straight sixes.
Thus, de Kock reaping Wednesday’s whirlwind in the manner in which he did will be perceived, correctly or wrongly, as confirmation that he has gone through more and larger tests than he would have anticipated meeting on his cricket journey relatively unscathed. As a rebuilt version of himself, maybe. Or as someone who has learned the virtue of letting go and allowing things to unfold naturally. That’s good, whatever you think of the de Kock phenomena. That marriage may not be so horrible after all.