An emotional Quinton de Kock looks likely to be considered to make a return to the Proteas set-up for Saturday’s T20 World Cup clash with Sri Lanka after apologising for Tuesday’s drama.
The talented wicketkeeper-batsman not only said he was sorry for withdrawing from the match against West Indies because he did want to be forced to “take the knee”, but applauded skipper Temba Bavuma for his mature leadership.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) responded positively to a hearty statement from De Kock and the fact that all Proteas players will “take the knee” from now on.
This suggests there is big room for De Kock to return to the line-up sooner rather than later — akin to the famous prodigal son tale.
De Kock also said it’s hard for him to be a racist because he comes from a mixed-race family, but he did add that there had been little time for players to think about CSA’s directive on “taking the knee” because it came only on the morning of the West Indies clash on Tuesday.
“I would like to start by saying sorry to my teammates, and the fans back home. I never ever wanted to make this a Quinton issue,” he said.
“I understand the importance of standing against racism, and I also understand the responsibility of us as players to set an example. If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so. … For those who don’t know, I come from a mixed-race family. My half-sisters are Coloured and my step mom is Black. For me, Black lives have mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement.”
He said he was grateful for his teammates’ backing since the incident. “I just want to thank my teammates for their support, especially my captain, Temba. People might not recognise, but he is a flipping amazing leader.
“If he and the team, and South Africa, will have me, I would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again.”
CSA said afterwards that it “welcomes all of these developments”, while attempts at reconciliation in the sport and mapping a better future continues at the Social Justice and Nation-building (SJN) hearings created by the oft-troubled organisation.
It would have probably looked bad if CSA had not accepted De Kock’s apology, especially his willingness to “take the knee” going forward.
In fact, the national body said it “regrets” that its directive was not taken much earlier.
CSA said in a statement: “Last night, the Cricket South Africa Board Chair and two directors met with the men’s Proteas team and management to discuss the Board’s directive regarding ‘taking the knee’.
“The Board representatives clarified the Board position and engaged with the issues raised by the players. Following the meeting, the Proteas men’s team agreed to align and unify in taking the knee for the remaining fixtures of the World Cup campaign. CSA has also noted the statement issued by Quinton de Kock in which he too has agreed to take the knee and issued an apology.
“Cricket South Africa welcomes all of these developments. They confirm Cricket South Africa’s commitment to non-racism. Taking a united stance against racism is a moral issue, not a political issue. The CSA Board regrets that the timing of its directive earlier this week may have been unsettling for the players in the lead-up to the match against the West Indies.”
Saturday’s encounter with Sri Lanka at 12 pm in third round of the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup comes after a loss and a win for Bavuma’s men in the United Arab Emirates.
Meanwhile, CSA noted the early arrival of the Netherlands team in South Africa for a three-match ODI series against the Proteas starting on November 26.