South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth February 19, 2014

De Kock called up as Petersen cover

ESPNcricinfo staff

South Africa have called up Quinton de Kock as cover for Alviro Petersen, who is suffering from a viral infection. Petersen made 2 and 1 in the 281-run defeat in Centurion and if he is unfit to play it could mean a Test debut for 21-year-old de Kock, a former captain of the Under-19s.

Graeme Smith, South Africa's captain, had said earlier in the day that the team had no injury concerns, other than Ryan McLaren who had previously been ruled out with concussion, and that he expected to be partnered by Petersen. There have been calls in some quarters for for Petersen to be dropped after he looked uneasy facing Mitchell Johnson's pace in the first Test. CSA said that a decision on Petersen's availability would be made before the toss.

Dean Elgar, who can open, was the back-up batsman in the squad, although he was already in contention to replace McLaren. South Africa could be set to make several changes after Robin Peterson was spotted in a bar the night before the Test, with Wayne Parnell the likeliest to come in - leaving JP Duminy and Elgar to provide spin support for a four-man pace attack.

De Kock made his international debut over a year ago but has so far only played limited-overs cricket. A diminutive left-hander who keeps wicket and opens the batting, de Kock made an unspectacular start to his South Africa career before scoring four ODI centuries in little over a month; he became only the fifth batsman to record three consecutive tons during India's visit in December. During a three-day practice match before the Centurion Test he made 50 for a South Africa Composite XI, though followed that with scores of 1 and 7 for Lions last weekend.

Petersen's place had been under scrutiny before falling ill, having averaged 23.92 over the last year, with no hundreds. The 33-year -old has been Smith's regular opening partner since a recall at the start of 2012 and has an average of 37.30 from 29 Tests.

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  • dj on February 20, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    Lets hoping QUINTON DE KOCK gets the nod to play. Our openers have been struggling with consistency for a long long time now and change was inevitable. It baffles me that the openers didnt respond to their previous failures and worked hard on it seeing that little international cricket was played before the 1st test and instead opting to go darting Rhinos - good cause yes, but seriously ... were they truly serious and properly prepared for the Ausies who netted and tried to adapt to our wickets. Lets fight fire with fire and our youngster has so much timing that he might just be the one to tame and tire the Ausies.

  • Bryn on February 20, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    not matter what Mitchell Johnson and Australia are licking their lips because at least some of duminy, Peterson, de kock, rob peterson or parnell have to play. south Africa are at least 2 good test players short, I would say even 3.

  • Hildreth on February 20, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    It would be a mistake to drop ALVIRO at this point if he's fit to play. Why pick on him when most of the batting failed ? South Africa needs a solid batting line-up to handle the strong Australian attack. Both Alviro and DeKOCK should play but the batting order can be adjusted if that's necessary. My take is Alviro should open if DeKock is asked to keep which is the most sensible thing. The selectors must ensure that DeVilliers is not exposed to any more wicket-keeping injuries especially with the retirement of Kallis. And concerning Robbie Petersen 'give the man a break' with a little warning. I see him as a very enthusiastic player who helps to rally the team. SA needs all the ENTHUSIASM they could muster in order to face the Aussie onslaught.

  • Android on February 20, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    This is great news, although if he is going to keep i think 7 would be better for him. Keeping is incredibly Tiring even for someone young. Amla to open with Smith to have left+right hander combo still, Elgar 3 and AB 4. Parnell for Robbie P as Elgar and Duminy can bowl the spin. AB is also magic in the field and can change a game with a brilliant catch or runout.

  • ZCF on February 20, 2014, 6:39 GMT

    Good! Toss him in so he can be destroyed and we can get out of the way the fact that he is way out of his depth! Assuming Alviro won't make it, If Hudson&Smith were thinking men then the XI would be lined up as:

    Smith, Amla, AB, Faf, JP, Elgar, Thami(wk), Parnell, Philander, Steyn, Morkel.

    However if QdK plays, keeps and bats 7, then questions will be asked. Why didn't Thami play since the reason he's not playing is because AB insisted he can&will keep, and has been doing so comfortably for a long time now. So there's no getting out of this one Hudson. Particularly after cullling him from central contracts and saying no outside players would be called in. If QdK plays then he must strictly open and field but AB must continue to keep and bat wherever. We'll watch you walk straight into that one. That's the key ingredient we're waiting for so an enquiry can be established to expose a lot of this hypocrisy and bring about concrete changes!

  • $$ milind on February 20, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Not sure about Quinton but Elgar has to be the man opening the innings. RSA should rethink of no.7 spot and possibly get Quinton at no.7 rather than no.2.

  • Francois on February 20, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    At last they pick an in form batsmen. What is this thing that SAs out of form are either sick or injured while of us know that they are been drop because of bad form, ala Mclaren, Pietersen and Petersen. Bring back Tahir.

  • Mashuq on February 20, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    Well no bad thing, say I (and many more). This may permit a totally different combination (but it won't): Smith, Elgar, Amla, de Villiers, de Kock (wk), du Plessis, Duminy, Parnell, Philander, Steyn, Morkel.

  • Andrew on February 20, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    Not sure if de Kock should be thrown into the openers slot on debut v MJ/Harris/Siddle. Could be a great sink or swim option! What I am fairly certain is Elgar as an opener v MJ is career suicide for him. MJ will be licking his lips searching for a double pair - all claimed by him!

  • Andre on February 20, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    " Petersen to be dropped after he looked uneasy facing Mitchell Johnson's pace"

    12 wickets tells me that Petersen wasn't the only batsman to "look uneasy facing Johnson". He hasn't done enough to keep his place so he must be dropped. Even though QdK has not made good scores in FC cricket this season, I think this is the right move. Look at Doolan's recent FC record (one score over 50 in 8 innings I think and a FC average of 37) and look at what he did in the first test. Quinton should be picked on talent (FC average almost 50, never mind his recent ODI exploits), which everyone knows he has. We need a 4 prong pace attack but I would pick Beuran over Wayne.

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