Cape Town – Former Proteas opener Herschelle Gibbs believes the axe needs to fall on Quinton de Kock ahead of the second T20 International against India in Guwahati on Sunday.
De Kock has been in dreadful form in T20Is with his latest failure being dismissed for just one in the series-opening T20I in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
The left-hander's feet were stuck in the crease as he wafted at a ball outside the off stump from Indian seamer Arshdeep Singh. De Kock could therefore only manage an inside edge as he chopped the ball on to his stumps – an all too familiar sight this past year.
In 13 matches since the start of last year's T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, where De Kock was the focus of attention for withdrawing from the West Indies clash because he refused to adhere to Cricket SA's directive to take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, he has only scored 137 runs at an average of 11.41 with a highest score of 34 against England in Sharjah.
In his comfort zone … dropping him will be a good shake up. Nobody is irreplaceable 😉
— Herschelle Gibbs (@hershybru) September 29, 2022
"The difference in yesterdays t20 was Indian bowlers swung it ours didn’t and their batters played conditions smarter … reeza in for quinny next game. He (De Kock) hasn’t made runs .. reeza must jol," Gibbs posted on social media.
At his best, De Kock is one of the most dynamic openers in white-ball cricket, as he showed in his belligerent 140 not out off just 70 balls for the Lucknow Super Giants in this year's Indian Premier League.
It is these types of innings, along with the fact that De Kock is the Proteas' first-choice gloveman, that many have overlooked his poor form in T20Is and hoped that he is only one innings away from regaining his spark ahead of next month's T20 World Cup in Australia.
Gibbs, though, believes the sand has run dry for De Kock and that Heinrich Klaasen can potentially be the replacement behind the stumps if the Proteas play just one spinner.
"He is (in a) comfort zone … dropping him will be a good shake up. Nobody is irreplaceable," he posted. "Reeza for last 2 t20 games and let quinny find some form in the odi series."
In fairness, the conditions at the Greenfield Stadium were not conducive to free-flowing T20 strokeplay with Singh and Deepak Chahar taking full advantage of the green pitch and overhead conditions to swing the ball prodigiously.
It was not only De Kock that suffered during this period as the Indian new-ball reduced the Proteas to 9/5 after just 15 balls of their innings.
Gibbs, who faced the new ball in Test and limited-overs cricket for over a decade for the Proteas, claims that its an opener's job to adjust to the conditions like India's KL Rahul (51 not out) showed during his team's chase.
"Nothing wrong with the deck.. india batted smarter and won comfortably in the end," Gibbs posted.
"Remember t20 is about batters improvising irrespective if the ball swings or not. It’s your duty and skill to find a way of scoring in any conditions."