South African cricket is in turmoil after former captain Quinton de Kock pulled out of the Proteas’ Twenty20 World Cup game in an apparent protest against being directed to take the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Cricket South Africa board had made the ruling at a meeting on Monday night for all players to make the gesture against global racism after pictures emerged showing a divided team on the issue in its game against Australia on the weekend.
CSA issued a statement minutes before the game on Tuesday saying de Kock had withdrawn from the team to play the West Indies due to “personal reasons”. It later said in another statement the wicketkeeper had decided not to take the knee, pointedly thanking his teammates for “agreeing to unite and make such an important public stand against racism”.
De Kock’s international future must now be in some doubt as a result of his stance against his national board’s anti-racism position. He had also refused to take the knee in the team’s series against the Windies earlier this year.
Paceman Anrich Nortje and Heinrich Klaasen, who had stood with their hands behind their back while teammates took a knee or raised their fists against Australia, both played against the Windies on Tuesday night. Klaasen filled in behind the stumps for de Kock.
South Africa was banned from the international game from 1970-1991 due to their apartheid system, a history which CSA referred to in its release.
“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,” CSA said in the statement.
“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.