December 7, 2021

De Kock: Stokes is just one guy who can hurt us

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Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock puts no stock in Ben Stokes’ modest T20 record and says England all-rounder is just one of several players his side must watch out for in upcoming three-game T20 series, live on Sky Sports from Friday

Last Updated: 26/11/20 4:49pm

England's Ben Stokes takes a breather during a net Session at Newlands Stadium England's Ben Stokes takes a breather during a net Session at Newlands Stadium

England’s Ben Stokes takes a breather during a net Session at Newlands Stadium

Captain Quinton de Kock says South Africa won’t under-estimate Ben Stokes despite the England all-rounder’s modest Twenty20 record.

Stokes, back in the England squad for the T20I series in South Africa after missing the second half the English summer for family reasons, has a top score of 47 not out in T20 internationals, scored against the Proteas in February, and a modest average of 17.94, to go with 14 wickets in 26 games.

But those who have seen him perform at the Indian Premier League know better, with the 29-year-old named as the competition’s MVP in 2017 and starring in a new position as opener for Rajasthan Royals this year.

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Highlights of Ben Stokes’ unbeaten 107 for Rajasthan Royals against Mumbai Indians

Highlights of Ben Stokes’ unbeaten 107 for Rajasthan Royals against Mumbai Indians

It was in that role that he scored a match-winning 59-ball century against eventual champions Mumbai Indians last month, with De Kock getting a close-up view.

“I just played in a game where I was the wicketkeeper and Ben Stokes smashed a hundred against us,” recalled De Kock ahead of the first of three T20s between the sides.

“He’s still a very top-class player and adds a lot of value to that team. I’m not really a big believer in players’ records, especially when it comes to that sort of record.

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“Stokesy is one guy who can hurt you with his bowling, do something spectacular in the field and in batting we all know how dangerous he is.

“But when you look at their squad there are a lot of guys to watch out for, you can’t pick just one guy. Any player in the England team, if they come off they can really hurt you.”

South Africa are without three players for the series opener at Newlands, with two unnamed squad members still working back from positive Covid-19 tests and all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius due to miss the entire tour with a hamstring tear.

England white-ball tour to South Africa

  • Nov 27: First T20I, Cape Town (4pm start)
  • Nov 29: Second T20I, Paarl (12.30pm start)
  • Dec 1: Third T20I, Cape Town (4pm start)
  • Dec 4: First ODI, Cape Town (11am start)
  • Dec 6: Second ODI, Paarl (8am start)
  • Dec 9: Third ODI, Cape Town (11am start)

Both sides were tested again for the virus on Thursday morning and will be hoping for no further setbacks. And while the procedure is a necessary one, it has not always been comfortable.

Cricket South Africa’s chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra said: “Clearly the players don’t like the Covid test. We had a guy here doing the tests on Monday and the players complained so we had to get somebody else.

“Some of them are a bit over enthusiastic and get the swab not only into your nose, but into your sinuses and into your brain as well. So it is an uncomfortable test.”

But there is no overstating the potential importance of a further outbreak within the bio-secure environment.

“I think the short answer to your question is there probably won’t be a game,” said Manjra.

“If a large group of people test positive, then we wouldn’t have an adequate opportunity to bring people into the bubble and that is the worst-case scenario.

“We don’t want to contemplate that, but if it happens we have to deal with it as it arises. We’ve got a squad of 24 players so hopefully we will be able to get a team together.”

Watch every game of England’s white-ball tour of South Africa live on Sky Sports Cricket, starting with the first T20 from 3.30pm on Friday.