The Proteas’ quest to wrap up the Test series against New Zealand received a major boost with the news that Quinton de Kock will be playing.
Yet it’s down to the smart thinking of team physiotherapist Brandon Jackson that they’ve been able to select their influential wicketkeeper-batsman for the third and final battle starting on Saturday in Hamilton.
De Kock is struggling with a tendon injury to his right finger, meaning he’s in quite some pain .
However, Jackson has crafted a temporary finger splint with strapping that will at least protect the finger over the next five days.
De Kock will though have to sit out for four to six weeks, meaning he’ll miss the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Faf du Plessis, the Proteas captain, admitted he’s relieved to have the 24-year-old available as they didn’t want to throw reserve keeper Heinrich Klaassen at the deep end.
Given that the top-order has struggled for runs, the Titans star would’ve perhaps been under unnecessary pressure on debut.
“We’re trying to put as much pressure as we can on New Zealand,” said Du Plessis.
“It’s a big game. Quinton is someone who you don’t just replace. From my side, I am trying to have Quinton in my team all the time.”
It doesn’t mean South Africa are risking De Kock’s body just to gain a positive result but they do feel the benefits of him playing outweigh the negatives.
“If he had three or four broken fingers then obviously he won’t play,” said Du Plessis.
“He has had problems with his fingers for quite a while. It’s part of being a keeper. It’s never nice to catch balls on the fingertips all the time and it’s been painful for him for a while. Maybe the cold New Zealand conditions make it worse.”
De Kock batted during Friday’s training session and also practiced his catching.