Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Tuesday said that it has taken note of Quinton De Kock’s withdrawal from the team’s game against the West Indies in the ongoing T20 World Cup due to “personal reasons”, adding that the board will await a report from the management before deciding on the next move.
Indian batsman Dinesh Karthik, meanwhile, added fuel to the fire by revealing on Twitter that the Proteas batsman is not playing because of his stand on Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Just minutes before the toss, de Kock made himself unavailable for selection in South Africa’s Group 1 Super 12 stage match against the West Indies in Dubai on Tuesday. The news came after Cricket South Africa released a statement saying that all players should take the knee before their remaining T20 World Cup matches in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
Notably, De Kock was one of a number of South Africa players who had not been taking the knee ahead of recent internationals, including the team’s tournament-opener against Australia, with some players kneeling, some raising a fist and some standing.
The inconsistencies with the way players have been acknowledging a stance against racism was one of the reasons CSA issued the clear directive to its team. And a follow-up statement from Cricket South Africa confirmed that De Kock’s absence was related to the issue.
“Cricket South Africa (CSA) has noted the personal decision by South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock not to ‘take the knee’ ahead of Tuesday’s game against the West Indies,” the CSA said in a statement.
“All players had been required, in line with a directive of the CSA Board on Monday evening, to ‘take the knee’ in a united and consistent stance against racism. This is also the global gesture against racism that has been adopted by sportspeople across sporting codes because they recognise the power of sport to bring people together,” it added.
CSA also mentioned that it will await a report from the management before deciding on the De cock.
“The Board will await a further report from team management before deciding on the next steps. All players are expected to follow this directive for the remaining games of the World Cup,” it said.
“CSA thanks all other Proteas players for agreeing to unite and make such an important public stand against racism,” it added.
All South African players who took the field for the game against West Indies did take the knee, a move that was discussed on broadcast commentary by Pommie Mbangwa and Daren Sammy.
“After some teams expressed the desire to make a gesture against racism, the ICC offered all teams the opportunity to do so if they wished,” an ICC spokesperson said.
The change in official stance on taking the knee comes in the same year as hearings began in Cricket South Africa’s Social Justice and Nation Building project, which set out to address current issues of discrimination within the organisation.
South Africa have adopted varied stances towards supporting the anti-racism movement since the BLM movement re-emerged last year, but the national team has not taken a knee together. Till now, it was decided that team members would make their own decision about whether to take a knee, raise a fist, or stand to attention to support the initiative.
Prior to the match, Cricket South Africa had set out their reasoning behind the change in stance on taking the knee.
“The Cricket South Africa (CSA) Board on Monday evening unanimously agreed to issue a directive requiring all Proteas players to adopt a consistent and united stance against racism by ‘taking the knee’ prior to the start of their remaining World Cup matches,” a statement read.
“Concerns were raised that the different postures taken by team members in support of the BLM initiative created an unintended perception of disparity or lack of support for the initiative.
“After considering all relevant issues, including the position of the players, the Board felt that it was imperative for the team to be seen taking a united and consistent stand against racism, especially given SA’s history. Several other teams at the World Cup have adopted a consistent stance against the issue, and the Board felt it is time for all SA players to do the same,” it added.