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Quinton de Kock retires from Test cricket at 29: World reacts to shock call

Eyebrows have been raised and fans are asking if there’s more to the story after one of cricket’s most recognisable faces decided to walk away.

South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect.

The shock announcement from de Kock, 29, came just hours after he was part of the South African team beaten by 113 runs in the first Test against India at SuperSport Park.

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De Kock said he remained committed to playing international limited overs cricket.

Twice named as South African Cricketer of the Year, de Kock said in a statement that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

It had already been announced he would miss the second and third Tests against India because his wife, Sasha, is about to give birth to the couple’s first child.

De Kock was embroiled in controversy during the T20 World Cup in October when he refused an order from Cricket South Africa to take the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The order came shortly before a match against the West Indies and it was initially announced that de Kock had withdrawn from the match for personal reasons.

After a meeting with Cricket South Africa officials, de Kock apologised and committed to the gesture for future matches although in making his apology he said he had felt his “rights were taken away” in the way the order was conveyed.

He made no mention of the incident in his retirement statement.

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

“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.”

The cricket world was shocked by the announcement. Former India opening batter Aakash Chopra tweeted: “He was expected to take the paternity leave but to announce retirement. Well … didn’t see this coming. Nobody did, I guess. All of 29. Already done with the longest format.”

Journalist Manish Pandey wrote: “A surprise de Kock has chosen to retire completely. Was expected to take paternity leave, but to retire completely from Test match cricket at 29 is a blow to South Africa and the game in general.”

Cricket writer S. Sundarshanan added: “Woahh! Quinton de Kock retires from Tests. Didn’t see it coming. Wonder if there’s more to it.”

De Kock was regarded as one of the most talented wicketkeeper-batsmen in the world. He scored 3300 runs at an average of 38.82 in 54 Tests, scoring at a rate of more than 70 runs per 100 balls. He took 221 catches and completed 11 stumpings.

De Kock captained his country in four Tests last season but did not look happy in the role.

In January, he questioned the sustainability of bio-secure environments as a result of Covid-19 restrictions and said “bubble life is very unsettling”.

His retirement means that only three players in the current South African squad have made Test centuries — captain Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma.

De Kock’s place in the Test team is expected to be taken by Kyle Verreynne, who made his debut as a specialist batsman during a series in the West Indies in June.



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