Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock has helped the Mumbai Indians reach the Indian Premier League playoffs but took some time to get going after a long lockdown break.
De Kock said that he struggled to get into the right frame of mind early in the tournament but overcame those issues by spending more time out in the middle.
Nothing beats time in the middle
As an opener, De Kock could afford to take a few balls to get going and the Indians backed him to come good after he finished as their leading scorer when they lifted the trophy in 2019.
“I was hitting the ball well in the nets. [I] just might have made a couple of silly mistakes in my first part of the tournament; nothing that can’t be fixed,” de Kock said at a media briefing on Friday.
“Before, it was just a mental thing; I hadn’t batted for a long time, so I was just trying to get over that mark. Once I found some rhythm, that’s when I started to feel a lot better, especially out in the middle. It was just a matter of doing it out there.”
De Kock says that the lockdown seemed to dull his cricketing instincts making it hard to build an innings.
“Yeah, obviously. I think it did, a little bit,” De Kock said when asked if the lockdown was behind his slow start to the IPL.
“To be honest, I was a little bit lost and [it was] hard to build an innings. I didn’t know when to go hard, when not to, I was a bit confused for some reason. I think it was because of the break.
“Getting some time to bat a little bit longer in the middle and having a chat to one or two of the coaches helped me out and to figure out, and [I] understand much better now.”
A new dynamic for de Kock
The Proteas blaster says that opening with someone as aggressive as Ishan Kishan has helped take the pressure off him to bat quickly.
Kishan replaced injured Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma as partner to de Kock.
“He really likes to come out and play a lot of his shots and sometimes it can help me if I’m not going (well),” de Kock said of his new partner, “and ends up taking a lot of pressure off me which is a pretty good thing in a partnership.”