Cricket South Africa’s Board issued a directive on Tuesday morning that all Proteas players must ‘take the knee’ in support of the Black Lives Matter initiative against racism before their T20 World Cup match against the West Indies in Dubai, a move that some may speculate has been the reason for key batsman Quinton de Kock withdrawing from the match.
De Kock was a notable omission from the starting XI for what team management called “personal reasons”. The wicketkeeper/batsman has previously expressed his struggles with bubble life and may just have needed a break from the game, but the timing of his withdrawal will inevitably cause immense speculation.
The Proteas were fielding first and all the players on the field and the support staff on the side appeared to take the knee with their right fists raised.
Reeza Hendricks replaced De Kock in the playing 11.
CSA Board chairman Lawson Naidoo said he believed the Proteas needed to have a unified response to BLM, rather than the previous situation where some players were standing, others kneeling, some had fists raised and others didn’t.
“A commitment to overcoming racism is the glue that should unite, bind and strengthen us. 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.
“South Africans were recently joined by people across the world in celebrating the 90th birthday of our revered Archbishop Desmond Tutu. What better tribute from the Proteas to an icon of the struggle for freedom in South Africa than to demonstrate we are working to fulfil his vision of a united South Africa,” Naidoo said.
Former long-serving Proteas Mohammed Moosajee urged the board to implement a unified response to BLM by the Proteas when he testified before the Social Justice and Nation-Building hearings last week.