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T20 WC: De Kock sits out of SA-Windies game as CSA tells players to take the knee

The South African cricketers have been seemingly split on the issue

de-kock-south-africa-australia-ap South Africa's Quinton de Kock walks from the field after he was dismissed during the Twenty20 World Cup match between South Africa and Australia | AP

South Africa player Quinton de Kock is reportedly sitting out the match against West Indies because of his stand on the Black Lives Matter movement.

South African cricketers have been directed by their board to take the knee in their remaining matches of the T20 World Cup here to ensure a "consistent stand against racism given the country's history".

But de Kock, who was seen standing while his teammates took the knee against Australia, has opted out of the game after the directive, according to former India player Dinesh Karthik.

Before the start of the South Africa-West Indies match, players-turned-commentators Darren Sammy and Pommie Mbangwa were critical of de Kock's decision.

"The lack of support for the initiative essentially means lack of support for people of colour within the team, in South Africa and in the world as a whole," said Mbangwa.

"Excuse me if I sound political, but I can't shed my skin."

Cricket South Africa (CSA) board on Monday evening unanimously agreed to issue the directive requiring all Proteas players to take the knee prior to the start of their remaining World Cup games, starting with today's Super 12 match against West Indies.

"Concerns were raised that the different postures taken by team members in support of the BLM initiative created an unintended perception of disparity or lack of support for the initiative," the CSA stated.

"After considering all relevant issues, including the position of the players, the board felt that it was imperative for the team to be seen taking a united and consistent stand against racism, especially given SA's history," it added.

'Taking the knee' is the global gesture against racism adopted by sports persons across the globe. 

"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," CSA Board chairperson Lawson Naidoo said in a statement. 

"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." 

The South African cricketers including De Kock have been seemingly split on the issue and before their T20 World Cup opener against Australia, players were seen standing, kneeling or raising a fist.

Pacer Anrich Nortje and wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen also stood with their hands behind their backs even as their teammates used different ways to express their support to the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.

The Indian cricket team had also taken the knee ahead of its tournament-opener against Pakistan on Sunday.

- With inputs from PTI

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