Quinton de Kock announces shock retirement from Test cricket

Quinton de Kock

South Africa wicketkeeper batter Quinton de Kock has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect.

De Kock had been set to miss the second and third Tests against India on paternity leave but has now decided to step away from the longest format entirely.

The star left-hander remains available to play white-ball cricket for South Africa.

De Kock began 2021 as South Africa’s stand-in Test skipper and now ends it by calling time on his career in the format.

The 29-year-old led the Proteas in four Tests, against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, with a 50% win record.

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South Africa beat Sri Lanka 2-0 at home under De Kock’s leadership but lost in Pakistan by the same margin.

De Kock voiced his concerns about the restrictions of bubble life in the pandemic and the effect of the conditions on players’ mental health.

He was rested from South Africa’s ODIs in Sri Lanka and against Netherlands.

“This is not a decision that I have come to very easily,” De Kock said in a statement.

“I have taken a lot of time to think about what my future looks like and what needs to take priority in my life now that Sasha and I are about to welcome our first child into this world and look to grow our family beyond that.

“My family is everything to me and I want to have the time and space to be able to be with them during this new and exciting chapter of our lives.

“I love Test cricket and I love representing my country and all that it comes with. I’ve enjoyed the ups and the downs, the celebrations and even the disappointments, but now I’ve found something that I love even more.

“In life, you can buy almost everything except for time, and right now, it’s time to do right by the people that mean the most to me.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a part of my Test cricket journey from the very beginning. To my coaches, team mates, the various management teams and my family and friends – I couldn’t have shown up as I did without your support.

“This is not the end of my career as a Protea, I’m fully committed to white-ball cricket and representing my country to the best of my ability for the foreseeable future.

“All the best to my teammates for the remainder of this Test series against India.”

Having made his Test debut against Australia in 2014, De Kock went on to play 54 Tests, scoring 3300 runs at an average of 38.82 including six centuries.

His first Test ton came at the same ground he played his last Test – SuperSport Park – when he scored 129* at No. 7 as South Africa beat England by 280 runs in 2016.

De Kock went on to score a match-winning hundred in Hobart later that year, which helped South Africa to a third successive series win in Australia.

He courted controversy at the T20 World Cup with his opposition to Cricket South Africa’s belated insistence that players take the knee.

That scandal threatened to scupper his lucrative relationship with IPL franchise Mumbai Indians.

His retirement from Test cricket is likely to open the door for the likes of Kyle Verreynne to nail down a place in the Proteas Test team.

Verreynne’s immediate opposition for the gloves will be Heinrich Klaasen and uncapped Lions wicketkeeper batter Ryan Rickelton.