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Quinton de Kock retiring from Test cricket has ’freed him up in the white-ball format’

South Africa's Quinton de Kock celebrates after scoring a century during the third ODI against India. Photo: Rodger Bosch/AFP

South Africa's Quinton de Kock celebrates after scoring a century during the third ODI against India. Photo: Rodger Bosch/AFP

Published Jan 24, 2022

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Cape Town - Quinton de Kock was widely regarded as the best wicket-keeper batsman of his generation across all formats.

The only problem with that statement is the fact that De Kock no longer plays Test cricket after his sensational retirement last month.

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It was a decision that sent shock waves through South African cricket due to De Kock's relatively young age of just 29 and the fact that he actually still led the Test side earlier in the year.

ALSO READ: Vintage Quinton de Kock gives Proteas fighting chance to whitewash India

However, now that everyone has recovered from the initial surprise, Proteas coach Mark Boucher believes it may indeed be a blessing in disguise after De Kock returned to the white-ball team in storming fashion with a Player of the Series performance that drove South Africa to a 3-0 cleansweep over India.

"It's great to see Quinny back and smiling again," Boucher said after the series win. "He's got a daughter now that he is probably looking forward to get back to and it puts life into perspective as well as many dads will know.

"If you look at Quinny as a person and when he has freed his mind up is when he plays his best cricket. For Quinny, the world is his oyster going forward and hopefully, we can reap the rewards from his more relaxed way that he might be.

ALSO READ: Quinton de Kock century, bowlers set up Proteas’ clean sweep of India in ODI series

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"It's unfortunate that he has retired from Test cricket, but that's freed him up in the white-ball format."

De Kock was the leading run-scorer in the series with 229 runs at an average of 76.33, which included a sparkling 124 at Newlands on Sunday. It was his 17th career ODI century and sixth against India - equalling AB de Villiers' record in the process.

Overall De Kock has amassed 1013 runs against India in just 16 matches at a hugely-impressive average of 63.31 in comparison to his career average of 46.14.

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Although De Kock's primary reason for quitting Test cricket is an attempt to avoid being an absent father and husband to his young family - his wife gave birth to their first child at the start of the year - it is no secret that spending lengthy periods within bio-bubbles have had a severe effect on him while the stress of #Kneegate during the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates would have had taken its toll.

ALSO READ: Mark Boucher praises Proteas after India whitewash as his legal battle looms

He will now though not need to join the Proteas in quarantine in New Zealand over the forthcoming weeks for the two Test series and is only expected to report for national duty in March when Bangladesh arrive on these shores.

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There are negatives such as he admitted the "lack of game-time catches up with players" but countered it with "the more I batted, the more I felt my rhythm was coming back."

It certainly felt like "Quinny of old" returned over the past two matches in Paarl and Cape Town with his full range of innovative strokes being unleashed. And that can only be a good thing for South African cricket moving forward.

@ZaahierAdams

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