Quinton de Kock has announced his retirement from Test cricket on Thursday, barely hours after playing in the first test loss to India in Centurion. De Kock, 29, said in a statement that he took the choice so that he could spend more time with his family. In the next few days, De Kock and his wife Sasha will welcome their first child. De Kock made his Test debut against Australia in 2014 and went on to play 54 Tests, alternating between opening the batting and keeping wicket and eventually leading the side as captain. He hit six test hundreds, the finest of which was 141 not out against the West Indies earlier this year, demonstrating that he was still one of South Africa’s top batsmen. His score on the test is 38.82.

De Kock has previously spoken about the impact test cricket has had on his personal life, particularly in the pandemic era, when players are often forced to stay in bio-bubbles during long series, are only allowed to leave team hotels for matches and training sessions, and are unable to see their families and loved ones.

“This was not an easy choice for me to make,” de Kock stated. “Now that Sasha and I are preparing to bring our first child into the world and aim to expand our family beyond that, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what my future looks like and what needs to take precedence in my life. My family means the world to me, and I want to be able to spend as much time as possible with them during this new and exciting chapter of our life. See you in the ODIs and T20s,” De Kock added, adding that he was still “totally committed” to playing limited-overs cricket for South Africa.

His action seemed to catch Cricket South Africa off guard as well. “It’s tragic to lose a player of Quinton’s quality in what we still consider as the peak of his career,” said Pholetsi Moseki, the company’s CEO.