'De Kock is ready to be a Test batsman'

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Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana feels wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock is ready for Test cricket right now, though he could use two more domestic seasons to fully realise his keeping potential.

Highveld Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana feels wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock is ready for Test cricket right now, though he could use two more domestic seasons to fully realise his keeping potential.

Lions' opener De Kock has scored three centuries in a row for South Africa in the past fortnight, helping the Proteas to a series win over India. He was not picked for the Test squad though, with CSA saying they wanted him to play more four-day cricket.

Toyana told <i>MWP</i> of his 20-year-old-charge: "Right now, the South African test squad is settled. Thami Tsolekile is the reserve wicketkeeper and my view is that he is the best keeper in the country.

"But if you ask me if Quinton is ready as a batsman to face bowlers at test level, I would say he is. He picks up the length of the deliveries so well and his placement is perfect. He can play shots on both sides of the wicket.

"He reminds me of Brian Lara. Like Lara, he can take the game away from the opposition within one session. He can bat anywhere from number one to five."

Toyana went on to say that De Kock has been tireless in working on his technique and fitness, and would be able to face Mitchell Johnson and company quite comfortably if required.

He added: "He is a kid without fear. He handles fast bowlers better than spinners. When Marchant de Lange was bowling at 150 kilometres per hour at the Wanderers, he was up to the task.

"Last season he did not even wear a thigh pad in any of the franchise matches. And his work-ethic improved by 300% after he had a shocker in Sri Lanka and came to work with me and Dumisa Makalima.

"He worked us to a standstill. He spent four hours a day working on all facets of his batting. He did this for four days a week.

"His technical flaw of keeping the bat diagonal instead of it coming down vertical, improved out of sight."

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