South Africa’s Quinton De Kock took the knee before the T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Saturday. This was four days after Quinton had pulled out of a match because he refused to do so. 

The 28-year-old apologised to his South African team-mates and fans on Thursday after pulling out of Tuesday’s game against West Indies because he refused to take the knee, insisting: ‘I am not a racist.’

De Kock was reinstated into the team on Saturday morning and took the knee before the Sri Lanka match at Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. 

De Kock, less than 48 hours after his threat to derail South Africa’s T20 World Cup campaign, made a dramatic statement and asked to be reinstated to his side.

He stated that he understood the importance of standing up against racism and the responsibility for us as players to be an example. If I can help educate others or make their lives better, I am more than happy taking the knee.

De Kock’s U turn followed a’very emotionally’ discussion between Cricket South Africa’s team and Temba Bavuma’s team on Wednesday night in which the board explained to the players why they had told them the previous morning that every game would be played on the knee. 

South Africa 's Quinton de Kock took the knee ahead of the T20 World Cup clash against Sri Lanka on Saturday after refusing to do so earlier this week

South Africa’s Quinton du Kock took the knee before the T20 World Cup clash against Sri Lanka, after refusing to do so earlier in the week

After being reinstated into the team, De Kock did take the knee prior to the Sri Lanka match in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

De Kock, after being reinstated into team, did not take the knee prior the Sri Lanka match at Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. 

Earlier this week, Cricket South Africa ordered their players to take the knee following their disjointed support for the Black Lives Matter movement against Australia last week (above)

Cricket South Africa had their players kneel earlier this week after their disjointed support of the Black Lives Matter movement last week against Australia (above).

De Kock is seen on the far left here electing not to take the knee before a T20 match against Sri Lanka last September

De Kock can be seen here on the far left refusing to bend his knees before a T20 match against Sri Lanka in September last year

De Kock's U-turn came after clear-the-air talks with Cricket South Africa - there were concerns that he had played his last game for his country

Clear-the-air talks between Cricket South Africa and De Kock led to De Kock’s Uturn. There were concerns that De Kock had played his final game for his country. 

Captain Temba Bavuma said at the toss: ‘One change, Quinton is in for Klaasen. The team is feeling a lot better than we were two days ago. 

“Quinton is in a better state. We’re ready and able to play today as a team. 

De Kock, who previously declined to take the knee, without giving his reasons, said he never felt the need prove his anti-racist credentials. He also criticised Cricket South Africa, which forced players to take a stance. 

He stated, “When you are told what you should do without any discussion, I felt it takes away its meaning.” 

“If I was racist, then I could easily have taken to the knee and lied. This is wrong and doesn’t build a better world.

“I’m from a mixed-race family. Since I was born, black lives have been important to me.

“The rights and equality for all people are more important than any one person. I was taught that everyone has rights and they are important. When I was told what I had to do, I felt like my rights were being taken away.

De Kock decided on the coach journey to the ground ahead of the West Indies match that he would not take a knee and would not feature in the match

De Kock made a decision on the coach ride to the ground before the West Indies match, that he would never take a knee and not participate in the match.

His replacement Heinrich Klaasen (left) did take the knee ahead of their victory on Tuesday

Heinrich Klaasen (left), his replacement, did however take the knee prior to their victory on Tuesday

De Kock has long chosen to stand while his team-mates took the knee in previous matches

De Kock has always stood while his team-mates took the knee during previous matches.

The reaction to De Kock’s announcement clearly had an impact. Bavuma (South Africa’s captain) said he was surprised by De Kock’s refusal and the CSA stated that it was essential for the team’s to take a stand against racism given the country’s history.

De Kock stated that he has been called many things in his career as a cricketer. Doff. Stupid. Selfish. Immature. These didn’t hurt. 

“It hurts me deeply to be called a racist due to a misunderstanding. It hurts my family. It hurts me and my wife.

“I am not a racist. And I’m sure those who know me well know that. I would love to play cricket again for my country if Temba and the team and South Africa will have me. 

On Wednesday, South African newspaper The Citizen summed up cricket’s racial politics – especially in that country – with the headline: ‘Cricket on its knees.’  

De Kock insists being called a racist has hurt him and his pregnant wife Sasha (right)

De Kock insists that being called racist has hurt him (right) and his pregnant wife Sasha

South African paper The Citizen's front page led with the headline 'Cricket on its knees'

South African newspaper The Citizen’s frontpage featured the headline “Cricket on its knees”

Cricket South Africa’s view was not supported by everyone, as Michael Vaughan, an ex-England captain, condemned their position.

On Twitter, he wrote that “Surely it’s up the individual to decide whether or not he or her wants to be involved with 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.” 

Pommie Mbangwa, a former Zimbabwe seamer, couldn’t hide his disappointment in the comment box. He said, “Excuse me for being politically” but he couldn’t hide his disappointment.

Daren Sammy (another West Indies captain) was also dismayed.

Carlos Braithwaite of West Indies could see both sides and call it a ‘watershed’ moment.

Former Zimbabwe international Pommie Mbangwa spoke out against De Kock's actions

As did former West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy

Pommie (left) and Daren (right) both spoke out against De Kock’s actions

He said that he knows Quinton De Kock well and has never felt any bad blood or bad vibes from him.

‘I don’t advocate for anyone being forced to do something they don’t want to do. I do understand the point of Cricket South Africa, but this is a crucial moment in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Pre-match, South Africa spinner Keshav Maharaj insisted ‘no one is a racist within our team’ as they prepare to welcome back De Kock following the wicketkeeper-batter’s apology.

Maharaj stated that everyone supports one another and is open to respecting all cultural, religious, and spiritual differences. Maharaj said, “I am very religious, so I know that you have to be open to many things, and we respect this.”

Keshav Maharaj has insisted that there are no racists within the South Africa team

Keshav Maharaj insists there are no racists in South Africa’s team

“No one in our team is racist. We are all in a good place right now. Although it has been a difficult week, I believe it has brought us together and we have gained strength and inspiration. 

“The boys are mature and adult enough to adapt to the circumstances. I felt that the spirits were high during training.

“There’s that buzz and that drive back into the team after a long two days. But I think the boys are doing well, and the focus is back on cricket for now. 


“I would like to apologize to my teammates and the fans back home.

“I never intended to make this Quinton-related issue. I understand the importance to stand against racism and I also understand the responsibility that we as players have to set an example.

“If taking a knee helps educate others and makes their lives better, then I’m more than happy.”

‘I didn’t mean to be disrespectful by not playing against West Indies. Perhaps some people don’t get that we were just being hit with this on Tuesday morning on our way to a match.

“I am deeply sorry to all the hurt, confusion, anger that I have caused.

“I was silent about this very important issue up until now. But I feel I must explain myself.

“For those who don’t know, I am from a mixed-race family. My half-sisters and step mom are both Black. Since I was a child, Black lives have always been important to me. It wasn’t just because there was an International Movement.

“The rights and equality for all people are more important than any one individual.

“I was raised to believe that we all have rights and they are essential.

“I felt like I had lost my rights when I was told what I had to do.

“Since our chat last night with the board, which was very emotionally, I think all of us have a better understanding about their intentions as well. I wish this had been done sooner as it could have prevented what happened on match day.

“I know I have an example. We were told that we had the freedom to choose what we wanted.

“I chose to keep my thoughts private and focused on the pride I felt in playing for my family as well as my country.

“I didn’t get why I had to show it with a gesture when I live, learn, and love people from all walks. It takes away the meaning when you are told what to do without any discussion. If I was racist, it would have been easy to lie and take the knee. This is wrong and doesn’t help build a better society.

“Those who grew up with me and played alongside me know who I am.”

“I’ve been called many things as a cricketer. Doff. Stupid. Selfish. Immature. These didn’t hurt. I am deeply hurt by being called a racist for a misunderstanding.

“It hurts me and my family. It hurts my wife who is pregnant [Sasha].

“I am not a racist. I know this in my heart. And those who know me will know that.

‘I’m sorry for being so naive, but I’m trying my best to convey how sorry I am that this is about me.

“It is not.

“I will not lie, I was shocked when we were told while on our way to an important match that there was an instruction we had to follow with a perceived “or else.” I don’t believe I was the only one.

“We had camps. We had sessions. We had zoom meetings. We all know where our positions are. That is why we are all here.

“I love all my teammates, and I love nothing better than playing cricket for South Africa.

“It would have been better for everyone if we had sorted it out before the tournament began.

“Then, we could have focused our attention on our job, to win matches for our country in cricket.”

“There is always a drama when you go to World Cups. It’s not fair.

“I just wanted to thank my teammates for supporting me, especially Temba, my captain. Although he might not be obvious, he is an incredible leader.

‘If he, the team, and South Africa will have him, I would absolutely love to play cricket again for my country.