South Africa v India, 3rd ODI, Centurion December 11, 2013

De Kock laughs off Ishant's 'lucky' remark

De Kock responds to Ishant's 'lucky' remark

There were a few sniggers in the pressroom when India fast bowler Ishant Sharma said that Quinton de Kock, who scored three consecutive hundreds in the ODI series, had "been quite lucky."

When asked if India were sick and tired at the sight of de Kock at the wicket, and if they were relieved he was not part of the Test squad, Ishant said: "I think he has been quite lucky. I can say that. Because the ball is getting in between fielders, he is getting top edges, players have been dropping catches off him. I think, you have to take positives. If he is scoring, good for him. What we can do is more important."

Minutes later, de Kock and his captain AB de Villiers had a laugh about it. "He was telling the truth," de Kock said, folding his arms and trying to hide his laughter. "I did get a bit lucky today. There were two dropped catches and I was really angry with myself. I just had to go back into my bubble again."

De Kock, on 37, had offered Ajinkya Rahane a regulation chance at short fine leg, and he also gave Yuvraj Singh an opportunity at mid-on six runs later. Neither catch was taken and de Kock was shaken by his carelessness, in conditions "where you had to fight for runs upfront."

De Kock's only rash move after those reprieves was on 99, when he charged Mohammed Shami and mis-timed the ball. In the commentator's box Herschelle Gibbs, whom de Kock joined as one of five batsmen to score three successive ODI hundreds, was impressed because he believed the young batsman had showed guts. At the non-striker's end, de Villiers, who also has three straight ODI tons, was not. He marched towards de Kock to have a word.

"I don't remember what he said," de Kock admitted, after the game had been washed out. De Villiers, who was sitting beside him, put on an expression of mock shock. "You don't remember anything," he joked. De Kock blushed a little while the people in the room laughed, and de Villiers explained what he had told the newest member of his team.

"I spoke to him twice," de Villiers said. "I spoke to him before the start of the game today and I told him never to be satisfied. And then I spoke to him when he was the 90s. Anyway, he can't remember anything."

De Kock does remember that this was, "one of the harder hundreds of these last three," and not only because of the conditions. South Africa had been in trouble at 28 for 3 and de Kock did not have the support of Hashim Amla in this game. He said the innings - 101 off 120 balls - showed how he had matured "I think I have grown a lot," he said. "My confidence was never there before. It has grown a lot. My work ethic has grown as well."

Despite de Kock being in such rich form, South Africa's selectors did not pick him for the two Tests against India. He simply accepted he has more work to do to play the longer format at the top level. "I'm sure anybody would love to be part of the Test squad, but I will have to go back to four-day cricket, bide my time and hopefully score some runs there.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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