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South Africa star refuses to play World Cup match after being directed to take a knee to support BLM

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26th October, 2021
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Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock has skipped South Africa’s Twenty20 World Cup match against the West Indies for “personal reasons” after the Proteas were directed to take a knee in their remaining matches in the tournament.

“He’s made himself unavailable for personal reasons,” South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said at the toss before the Group I match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) said its board had met on Monday evening and decided the team should adopt “a consistent and united stance against racism” by taking the knee to support the Black Lives Matter movement prior to the start of their remaining matches.

“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,” the CSA statement read.

The directive came in a statement after “concerns were raised” over the “different postures” taken by its players ahead of warmup matches and the team’s first World Cup game against Australia on Saturday.

The statement from CSA came just over an hour before play began in South Africa’s match with the West Indies in Dubai, and it had immediate ramifications.

De Kock had declined to take a knee in the past calling it “my own personal opinion.”

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“It’s everyone’s decision. No one is forced to do anything. Not in life. That’s the way I see things. That’s just about it,” de Kock said in June.

CSA Board chairperson Lawson Naidoo said commitment to overcoming racism “is the glue that should unite” the team.

“Diversity can and should find expression in many facets of our daily lives, but not when it comes to taking a stand against racism,” Naidoo said.

In a second statement released on Tuesday, CSA said it had noted De Kock’s decision.

“Cricket South Africa (CSA) has noted the personal decision by South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock not to “take the knee,” the statement read.

“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.

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“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.”

outh 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.

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