South African cricket has been left stunned by the sudden retirement from Test cricket of wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton De Kock at the age of 29.
De Kock’s announcement came after South Africa’s 113-run defeat to India in Centurion as the visitors took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
De Kock was not expected to play the remaining two Tests of the series as he was to take paternity leave, but had been anticipated he would return to the Proteas red-ball team afterwards.
“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 (wife) 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.”
De Kock, 29, made his Test debut in 2014 and scored 3,300 runs at average of 38.82, scoring six centuries and 22 fifties in his 54 matches.
The former Proteas Test captain claimed 232 dismissals behind the wicket, 221 catches and 11 stumpings.
De Kock provoked a stir in October when he withdrew from South Africa’s T20 World Cup match against the West Indies, having refused to take the knee before the game.
Cricket South Africa had directed all their players to take part in the anti-racism gesture.
De Kock later apologised for his actions, insisting he was “not racist” and said his stance came from feeling his “rights were taken away”.
He returned to the side for South Africa’s next match against Sri Lanka, taking the knee before the start of play, and insists he remains committed to the shorter formats of the game.
De Kock said: “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.
“See you in the ODIs and T20s.”