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Quinton de Kock retires from Test cricket

FILE - Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect. Photo: Randy Brooks/AFP

FILE - Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect. Photo: Randy Brooks/AFP

Published Dec 30, 2021

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Johannesburg — Quinton de Kock stunned the cricket fraternity by announcing his retirement from Test cricket, citing the need to spend more time with his family.

De Kock’s wife, Sasha, is due to give birth to the couple’s first child next week. De Kock was set to leave the Proteas’s ‘bio bubble’ to be by his wife’s side and thus miss the remainder of the current series with India.

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“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.”

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De Kock has played 54 Tests over nearly eight years. He made his debut against Australia at St George’s Park and became a mainstay of the Proteas team, helping them to major successes in Australia in 2016 and New Zealand in 2017.

“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, “De Kock continued.

“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.”

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De Kock is one of the most precocious talents to represent the Proteas, leaving the Test arena aged just 29, having scored 3300 runs which came at an average of 38.82. He scored six Test hundreds with his highest score 141 not out coming against the West Indies in St Lucia in June this year. De Kock’s 232 dismissals - 221 catches and 11 stumpings - make him the second most successful gloveman in Tests for the Proteas, behind Mark Boucher, who finished with 553 dismissals.

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De Kock captained the Proteas in four Tests, but struggled with the demands of bio bubble life on tour, and after the tour to Pakistan in February this year, was relieved of the leadership position.

He courted heated controversy during the T20 World Cup when he refused to kneel as a show of respect for the Black Lives Matter movement. He withdrew from the starting team for South Africa’s second match in that tournament against the West Indies, but returned to the starting line-up after agreeing to the directive issued by Cricket SA’s Board of Directors that all players must kneel.

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De Kock said he would continue to play in the limited overs formats, which has World Cup tournaments for the T20 format in Australia later in 2022 and then the 50-over competition in India in 2023.

Although De Kock lost his lucrative IPL contract with the Mumbai Indians, who he has represented for the last two years, he is likely to be the subject of a bidding war between multiple teams for the next edition. He also played in The Hundred competition in England for the Southern Brave and is likely to continue in that competition. Depending on how much time he wants to play, he could avail himself for other T20 competitions around the world.

“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, teammates, the various management teams and my family and friends – I couldn’t have shown up as I did without your support, “de Kock added.

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Cricket SA’s acting chief executive, Pholetsi Moseki said it was a sad day for the Proteas Test side. “He has been a loyal and proud servant of the Proteas team for the last seven years and we are glad that we have not lost him from the game entirely.”said Moseki.

“We value his contribution to the team as a leader and we are grateful for the time and energy that he has given the team in years passed.”

Kyle Verreynne will step into the Proteas starting side for the remainder of the series against India. The second Test starts at the Wanderers on Monday.

@shockerhess

IOL Sport

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