The cricket world has been left shocked and saddened after South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton De Kock announced his sudden and immediate retirement from Test cricket, aged just 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.
'ABSOLUTE LEGEND': Tributes flow as NZ great announces retirement
'UNBELIEVABLE': Cricket world loses it over 'catch of the summer'
The Proteas star 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.
However, the 29-year-old made the shock move to call time on his career so he can dedicate more of his life to his growing family.
"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.
Cricket world stunned by Quinton De Kock decision
His announcement was greeted with a widespread sense of shock and despair from cricket fans on social media.
de kock retiring at the age of 29 to spend more time with family, no one will believe this seriously
— . (@sanket7262) December 30, 2021
— Rohit Sharma Fanclub India (@Imro_fanclub) December 30, 2021
Quinton De Kock retires from Test cricket with immediate effect. He was expected to take the paternity leave but to announce retirement. Well…didn’t see this coming. Nobody did, I guess. All of 29. Already done with the longest format.
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 30, 2021
De Kock retires? This is so random!
— Abhishek Mukherjee (@SachinAzharCT) (@ovshake42) December 30, 2021
— CricksLab (@CricksLab) December 30, 2021
Quinton de Kock has announced his retirement from Test Cricket with immediate effect 💔
He will still play in limited overs games
I am heartbroken and shocked to say the least, but all the best to him & growing family#SAvIND pic.twitter.com/kk8VudCwLl
— ThePoppingCrease (@PoppingCreaseSA) December 30, 2021
World cricket reaction on Quinton De Kock's sudden retirement from Test cricket. pic.twitter.com/LwHbuPtJ9M
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) December 30, 2021
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."
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.