South Africa star Quinton de Kock has made himself unavailable for the T20 World Cup match against West Indies, just an hour after he was told to take the knee for the remainder of the tournament.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) felt forced to react after their team chose different methods to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement ahead of their five-wicket defeat by Australia last week.
On Saturday, some Proteas players took to the knee in Abu Dhabi while others stood on the ground and raised their fists. All Proteas player have been instructed by CSA to sit on the ground before their remaining World Cup matches in Dubai.
De Kock, a former South Africa captain, and one of the top T20 players in the world, chose to miss the crucial match. This is presumably because of team orders to take the knee. CSA stated that they had ‘noticed’ de Kock’s ‘personal choice’.
At the toss before Tuesday’s match against Kieron’s men, Temba Bavuma, the current captain, stated that De Kock had pulled out of this game due to ‘personal factors’.
De Kock has opted not to take the knee before matches. He prefers to stand with his hands behind his head on many occasions, while his teammates either took the knee or used other options.
Quinton De Kock, South Africa’s top cricketer, has withdrawn from the match against West Indies in T20 World Cup.
De Kock is seen here at the far left, refusing to sit on the knee prior to a T20 game against Sri Lanka last September. Tensions over the issue for South Africa are ongoing
Cricket South Africa has ordered their players to kneel following their disjointed support of the Black Lives Matter movement against Australia (above).
Captain Temba Bavuma (right), who was speaking at the toss, revealed that De Kock had withdrawn against West Indies due to ‘personal reasons.
Tensions surrounding South Africa have been ongoing ever since November last year. The team stated that they had offered themselves three options to show support for the fight to achieve social justice.
The wicketkeeper-batsman, however, refused to explain the reasons behind his decision not to take the knee in June during a Test series against West Indies.
De Kock stated: “My reason?” It’s my personal opinion. It is my personal opinion. It’s everyone’s choice; no one’s forced to make any decision in their lives. That’s how I see things.
Although the Proteas and West Indies counterparts took the knee in Dubai, Heinrich Klaasen was made to keep wicket for South Africa. Reeza Hendricks was then brought in to open the batting with Bavuma.
Klaasen was seen kneeling in support of BLM before the match.
Heinrich Klaasen, who took the knee as Proteas wicketkeeper, replaced De Kock.
Pommie, a former Zimbabwe international Pommie, stated that the lack of support for this initiative essentially means that there is not enough support for people of color in South Africa and around the world.
“Excuse me for sounding political, but the colour of my skin cannot be changed.”
He also spoke about the need for South Africa’s unity on something the world agrees on, as ‘this is an exclusionary country with a long history of racism.
Darren Sammy, a former West Indies all-rounder, said: “As my mother always taught me, you have to stand for something or you’ll be taken advantage of.”
“Sometimes, I don’t get it: Why is it so hard to support this group, if you understand its purpose?
Harsha Bhogle (Indian cricket commentator and journalist) said that he believes de Kock will never play for his country again.
De Kock has always chosen to stand, while his teammates took the knee in previous matches.
He tweeted that ‘I fear we still haven’t heard about the de Kock issue’. “I won’t be surprised to see him again in a Proteas t-shirt.”
Michael Vaughan, the former England Ashes winner skipper insists de Kock’s decision not to kneel should not hinder him from representing his country. Vaughan has played for 253 times across all formats.
Vaughan tweeted that “Surely it’s up the individual to decide if he or she wants be involved in any movement.”
“A cricket board should ask players to do it, but if they decide not to it shouldn’t stop them from playing cricket.”
The Proteas also seemed to have paid the price for De Kock’s decision on the field. Klaasen lost the first chance that came his direction when Lendl Simmons edged it to him off Anrich nortje.
The CSA board forced players to sign a statement on Tuesday. It stated: ‘Concerns were raised about the fact that team members took different positions in support of BLM Initiative. This created an unintended perception or lack of support for initiative.
‘After considering all issues, including the players’ positions, the board decided it was crucial for the team’s to be seen taking an unwavering and consistent stand against racism, given South Africa’s history.
“Several other World Cup teams have taken a consistent position against the issue and the board felt it was time for all South Africa players.
Lawson Naidoo (CSA board chairperson) said via Times Live on Tuesday that a commitment to overcoming racism was the glue that should unify, bind, strengthen us.
Pommie (left) and Darren Sammy(right) voiced their disapproval at De Kock’s actions
“Race should never be used to magnify our weaknesses. While diversity can and should be expressed in many aspects of our daily lives, it is not appropriate when it comes time to take a stand against racism.
“South Africans joined people around the world to celebrate the 90th birthday celebrations of Archbishop Desmond Tutu,” said a recent statement.
“What better way to pay tribute to an icon in the struggle for freedom in South Africa than by showing that we are working towards his vision of a united South Africa?”
The Proteas finished fourth in their Super 12 Group ahead of facing West Indies. Australia and Sri Lanka won their first games above them.
Bavuma’s men will face West Indies in Dubai and then take on England in Sharjah on Saturdays.
Before their group match at Dubai, both West Indies players and Proteas athletes took the knee.