Quinton de Kock recently announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect. It isn’t the first time that a wicketkeeper at the top of his game has suddenly retired in the middle of a series, with Indian cricket being in a similar situation with MS Dhoni in 2014.
De Kock’s decision has left the cricketing world surprised. Even though the reasoning behind it is understandable with him wanting to spend more time with his young family, to say that the announcement came out of the blue would be an understatement.
De Kock has been a well-established wicketkeeper across formats for quite some time now and one would have expected for him to be really reaching his prime as a batsman, with age on his side. He has certainly been a key part of the leadership group of the South African team and hence, his exit leaves a gaping hole in the team.
The South African head coach, Mark Boucher, admitted that he did not see that decision coming.
“You do not expect anyone of his calibre to retire at that age. They usually play until the age of 35 or 36”, said Boucher.
He stated that even though one understands and respects his reasons, his absence will be a huge loss. Boucher feels that it is important for the team to keep moving forward and focus on the series at hand.
“It came as a shock. But we fully respect his reasons. It’s sad, but we’ll have to keep going. We’re in the middle of a series and we cannot wonder about it for too long. We need to focus on the guys who come in his place and hopefully they can do something similar to what Quinny offered us.”
“I kind of feel sorry for Kyle Verreynne” – Mark Boucher
Talking about his replacement, Mark Boucher said that Kyle Verreynne, who has been around the team for a while, will be up for the challenge. He is expecting a smooth transition especially since the team management has been working closely with Verreynne in recent times.
“I kind of feel sorry for Kyle, because he has been on a few cricket tours and he has been sitting on the sidelines for a while. He waited his turn and honed his game. We have been working closely with him lately. It’s not that he is new to the system. He’s been around the guys for a while. So he will quietly have confidence in his game and he will be able to move in seamlessly.”