De Kock misses South Africa T20 World Cup game after refusing to take knee

Quinton de Kock did not take part in South Africa’s Twenty20 World Cup match against West Indies, after apparently refusing to follow a team directive and take a knee before the match in Dubai.

The South Africa captain, Temba Bavuma, said De Kock had “made himself unavailable for personal reasons” before the coin toss at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Cricket South Africa (CSA) made the same announcement on their Twitter feed, with De Kock replaced in the starting line-up by Reeza Hendricks.

A subsequent CSA statement, tweeted after the match had started, disse: “Cricket South Africa 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,” the statement continued. “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 South Africa’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,” CSA concluded. “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 has yet to comment on his absence from Tuesday’s game, but has declined to take a knee before games in the past, calling it “my own personal opinionit’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,” the wicketkeeper and batsman said in June.

The CSA chairperson, Lawson Naidoo, has previously 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.

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