Quinton de Dock on Tuesday opted out of South Africa’s T20 World Cup match against the West Indies “for personal reasons” as the country’s cricket board ordered players to take the knee.
Skipper Temba Bavuma said the wicketkeeper-batsman, a former national captain, had made himself unavailable due to “personal reasons” in their crucial Super 12 match in Dubai.
The decision raised eyebrows as De Kock had previously refused to take part in the anti-racism gesture that has become a regular feature in most sporting events.
Here’s the statement issued by Cricket South Africa in response:
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.
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.
After considering all relevant issues, including the freedom of choice of players, the Board had made it clear it was imperative for the team to be seen taking a stand against racism, especially given SA’s history. The Board’s view was that while diversity can and should find expression in many facets of daily lives, this did not apply when it came to taking a stand against racism.
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.
CSA thanks all other Proteas players for agreeing to unite and make such an important public stand against racism.
De Kock refused to take a knee in South Africa’s Test series in the West Indies earlier this year.
Eoin Morgan’s England took the knee along with the West Indies on day one of the ongoing World Cup and India and Pakistan followed in their key clash on Sunday.
The South Africans playing in Tuesday’s game took the knee before the start of the game.
“A commitment to overcoming racism is the glue that should unite, bind and strengthen us,” CSA board chairperson Lawson Naidoo said.
“Race should not be manipulated to amplify our weaknesses. Diversity can and should find expression in many facets of our daily lives, but not when it comes to taking a stand against racism.”
The statement further added, “Cricket is the second most watched sport globally and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, being held in the UAE and Oman, is the ideal platform for the Proteas to highlight the national resolve to heal the divisions of the past.”
South Africa assistant coach Enoch Nkwe had resigned in August after apparent disagreements with under-pressure head coach Mark Boucher.
Nkwe’s resignation came against a backdrop of widespread criticism of Boucher following revelations made at hearings into racism in South African cricket.
The criticism intensified when black former players alleged they were not made to feel welcome in the national team environment during the period in which Boucher was a prominent member of the team.
Former spin bowler Paul Adams said he was racially abused during fines meetings presided over by Boucher which put the spotlight directly on the current coach.
Inputs from AFP