By Nick Said
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Quinton de Kock has accepted the South Africa test captaincy for this international season only as he concedes the selectors have struggled to identify a viable candidate as a long-term solution in the five-day game.
De Kock, who leads the side in white-ball cricket, was a surprise pick for the South African summer, only because both he and director of cricket Graeme Smith have previously said the burden of captaincy across all three formats would be too much for the wicketkeeper.
But as the team prepares for the start of the two-test home series against Sri Lanka on Boxing Day, and with tests against Pakistan and Australia early next year, De Kock says he is happy in a temporary role.
"When they (the selectors) told me the situation, I understood where they are coming from. I didn’t accept it immediately, I did think about it," he told reporters on Monday.
"It's just for this season. When somebody else puts up their hand, they will take over. But I am happy to do it for now."
Sri Lanka became the first side from Asia to win a test series in South Africa when they claimed a shock 2-0 win last year.
But those were on coastal wickets in Durban and Port Elizabeth, and De Kock is expecting much more pace and bounce this time round on the Highveld with the first test in Pretoria and the second in Johannesburg.
"We want to play clever test cricket, we want to be more streetwise in how we go about things. We want to be aggressive," he said. "We want to be able to throw the first punch.
"We do have young players, guys that need to learn fast. Especially where our team is compared to the rest of test cricket."
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)