Alviro Petersen: More players may follow Quinton De Kock and abandon Test cricket
Former Proteas opening batsman Alviro Petersen has reacted with shock to Quinton de Kock’s early retirement from Test cricket, and expressed concern that more players are likely to follow suit.
At just 29 years old and having played 54 Test matches, De Kock announced after the conclusion of the Proteas’ 113-run defeat to India in the Boxing Day Test at SuperSport Park on Thursday that he would only be available for ODIs and T20s in future.
“To be honest, I am a bit shocked by his decision,” said Petersen, who played in 36 Tests for SA where he scored five centuries, largely as opening partner to Graeme Smith.
“During the lunch break of day five in Centurion, I noticed that he was not quite 100% because Quinny is a player who likes to play his shots. Often when there is stuff happening with family or you are on a long tour, one foot is always on the plane and I had the sense that with him it was almost like one foot was already at home.
“I am surprised but you can also understand that all the lucrative T20 leagues around the world and The Hundred [franchise 100-ball cricket tournament in the UK] now have changed the mindset of players.”
De Kock is an explosive white ball player with 124 ODIs and 61 T20s for SA and having featured for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians in the IPL.
“In the past, Test cricket was the pinnacle and slowly that is being changed with guys looking after their financial wellbeing. Priorities have changed and he won’t struggle to get a T20 or The Hundred contract,” Petersen said.
“I thought it was strategic from his side and I understand where he is coming from. We are going to see more of this in the future where guys are going to choose to play white ball cricket and in the leagues around the world because Test cricket does take a lot from you.
“Also, with bio-bubbles now you don’t have the freedom and sometimes you can’t see family and friends. It does become difficult.
“Probably all these things were taken into consideration when he made his decision.”
The Proteas Test batting line-up has not been up to scratch in recent months and Petersen said De Kock's departure is a setback for the team.
“It’s a big blow. Test cricket is about scoring hundreds and his absence is going to leave a big hole for SA. But at the same time this is an opportunity for someone like Kyle Verreynne.
“Kyle has been around the squad for a while now and he would know what is expected of him because he understands the dynamic. This is the time for him to step up at international level.
“International cricket is basically putting yourself under scrutiny, because people are going to watch you closely and that brings lots of pressure, and he will have to manage that pressure.
“There is also the issue of Ryan Rickelton, so the decisionmakers will have to decide who they go to to fill this hole that has been opened up by Quinny.”