Former Zimbabwean cricketer and commentator Pommie Mbangwa had some strong words during commentary after Quinton de Kock opted out of the T20 World Cup game between South Africa and West Indies for personal reasons.
Cricket South Africa had issued a directive to its players to adopt a consistent and united stance against racism by ‘taking the knee’ prior to the start of their remaining T20 World Cup matches.
However, De Kock who had refused to take a knee in South Africa’s Test series in the West Indies earlier this year, opted out of the match after the directive.
Update: CSA has noted the personal decision by South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock not to take the knee
At the start of the match the official reason for de Kock’s withdrawal was not yet known.
During commentary, Mbangwa didn’t hold back and made his thoughts about the situation clear and was also joined by co-commentator and former West Indies captain Daren Sammy who too voiced his opinion on the matter.
In a press release issued a little later by Cricket South Africa, it was revealed that de Kock withdrew over taking the knee ahead of the match against the West Indies. The Board will await a further report from team management before deciding on the next steps.
Here is the full text of the commentary piece concerning the anti-racism narrative:
(As players were taking a knee and then as the first over went on)
Daren Sammy: My mother used to always say that you got to stand for something or you will fall for anything. It is good to see the players united in something that has an effect on so many people across the world. That will be a conversation in this World Cup.
Pommie Mbangwa: I dare say Darren that cricket will take a back seat and it’s a big statement for me to make in a cricket World Cup where absolutely everybody would like to play in. I would say as the team concerned is South Africa who have a history of exclusion and racism. And for this as an issue to still be here is, huge.
This South African statement reads that there are concerns raised over 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 which essentially says lack of support for people of colour within the side, the South Africa side, within the country South Africa, in the world as a whole.
Excuse me for being political because some will say it is being political but I cannot shed my skin. I hope, I hope that the discussion at the very least can be about how to be united, about something that everybody agrees on. This is also in the hope that there is an agreement in that regard.
Daren Sammy: Yeah, sometimes I don’t understand why is it so difficult to support this movement if you understand what it stands for. That’s just my opinion. What my kind have been through. There are other issues affecting the world but I don’t understand why it’s so difficult.
Pommie Mbangwa: I’ll say this with regard to Quinton de Kock that freedom of choice is fair enough. I don’t want to speculate on what the personal reasons exactly are because I haven’t got those but I hope that discussion can actually be had. Thank you for letting me have my say. I’ll move on.