- Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock said his recent Test slump was made worse by the Covid-19 bubbles he was in last year.
- De Kock scored his first Test ton in nearly two years against the West Indies on day two of the first Test in St Lucia.
- De Kock also warned against the use of the Dukes ball in South Africa because of the spicy wickets.
Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock said his recent Test slump was aggravated by constant Covid-19 bubbles and not the Test captaincy he held recently.
In his first Test since he relinquished the red-ball leadership to Dean Elgar, De Kock reeled off his sixth Test ton and one that could be match-defining.
De Kock's unbeaten 141 steered South Africa to the safety of 322 in their first innings in response to the West Indies' first innings 97.
The West Indies again battled in the face of hostile and accurate South African bowling, from where they had to make do with being 82/4 at the end of the second day's play.
De Kock said the Covid-19 bubbles took their toll on him and needed a break.
He was granted one earlier this year by Cricket South Africa when he skipped the Betway Franchise T20 Series after coming back from a dreadful Test tour of Pakistan.
"It has nothing to do with the captaincy, but everything to do with the Covid-19 bubbles," De Kock said.
"Being in so many bubbles took its toll. It was just too much and that was it. I pretty much just asked for a break and relax for the T20 series we had back at home.
"They deemed it to be a mental break, or whatever it was, but I wasn't mentally tired from cricket at least. I was just tired of bubbles."
De Kock further explained the turgid nature of some of the Covid-19 bubbles he has experienced.
"We were on the road starting from the IPL and the Pakistan bubble was particularly difficult," De Kock said.
"We'd be going from the changing room at the stadium to one flight of rooms. There wasn't a balcony and room to move, so I asked for a break. Ever since then, it has been good."
One of the hallmarks of De Kock's innings was the mastery of the Dukes ball that remains harder and shinier than the Kookaburra and SG balls used on the Test circuit.
While the likes of Aiden Markram (60) and Rassie van der Dussen (46) got starts, no other batsman barring De Kock looked comfortable at the crease.
De Kock, who also experienced the United Kingdom version of the Dukes ball that hardly get battered because of the different climatic conditions there, cautioned against the use of the Dukes ball in SA.
"If you bring the Dukes ball to SA, it becomes an even tougher contest. We've already got spicy wickets back home," De Kock said.
"If you bring it to SA, Test matches may be shorter and four-day games could be two-day games because that ball does a lot.
"There's a reason why we play with the Kookaburra back home because it ends up doing enough and makes for a fair contest."