The South Africa wicketkeeper-batter Quinton de Kock has retired from Test cricket with immediate effect.
The shock announcement from the 29-year-old came on the day the Proteas suffered a 113-run defeat to India in the first Test at Centurion and comes during a controversial year for the player, who apologised after refusing to take a knee during the World Twenty20 tournament.
De Kock said he wanted to spend more time with his family – with his wife expecting the birth of their first-born child in the coming days – but the decision was still a surprise given CSA had agreed to give him time off for the rest of the three-match Test series to attend the birth.
“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, teammates, 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.”
The left-hander leaves the Test arena having played 54 matches with an average of almost 39, having scored 3,300 runs. He also scored six centuries and 22 half-centuries during that time after having made his Test debut in 2014.
De Kock will be sorely missed behind the stumps, however, with 232 dismissals, including 221 catches and 11 stumpings.