A photo of the South African team at the T20 World Cup has kicked off a renewed debate about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement that's divided the cricket world.
The image was taken of the Proteas players before their first-up defeat against Australia in the Twenty20 tournament being staged in the UAE and Oman.
'WHAT A JOKE': Cricket fans rage over World Cup 'disgrace'
In it, some players were seen taking a knee or raising a fist (or both) to support the BLM movement, while others simply stood for the team photo.
The picture was in contrast to the Australian team photo where all players were seen taking a knee in support of BLM.
In their opening match against the West Indies, England's players joined their counterparts by taking a knee, while India also decided to partake in the gesture in a match that saw opponents Pakistan opting to stand.
In South Africa's case, many fans were left bitterly disappointed that the team couldn't unite in an anti-racism gesture, particularly considering the nation's history of apartheid.
And what was worse was seeing EVERY Australian, West Indian and English player take a knee. Australia and England can do it! But South Africa can’t. It’s an indictment
— Firdose Moonda (@FirdoseM) October 24, 2021
South Africa’s former team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said it was sad the team could not agree on a gesture, with some understood to consider it “against their religious beliefs” to take a knee for anyone other than their wife and God.
“Unfortunately, some current players appear to be misinformed and believe taking the knee is supporting the notion that black lives matter more,” Moosajee said at the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings.
“They need to be educated so that they appreciate that taking the knee is all about a stand against racism and discrimination and supporting the notion that black lives matter as much.
“It is a pity that the Proteas team have not adopted a unified approach to the issue and highlights that even though we have been having discussions for a number of years already, these discussions need to continue, because we still have some way to go to get all our people to fully appreciate the injustices of the past.”
The Australian men's cricket team first started taking a knee to support the BLM movement in July, during a series against the West Indies.
Last year, Aussie skipper Aaron Finch and his side were called out by Windies great Michael Holding for not taking a knee during a limited-overs series against England because the players weren't educated enough on the issue.
“Education is very important … but you can’t just say that education is the most important thing and do nothing else. We have still got to keep the awareness going,” Holding said at the time.
“How long is that education going to take? This thing has been going on for centuries. Are you just going to educate everyone and change the world in a week or two? You have still got to keep the awareness going.
“That’s a pretty lame statement.”
Afghanistan smashes Scotland in Group II
Meanwhile, Afghanistan made history in a 130-run drubbing of Scotland in their Group II T20 World Cup showdown.
Afghanistan's batsmen were on fire as their muscular top order fired them to an imposing 4-190 in their opening Super 12 stage match.
It was the highest total the Afghans have ever made in T20 internationals.
Spin duo Mujeeb Ur Rahman (5-20) and Rashid Khan (4-9) then combined to demolish Scotland for 60 in 10.2 overs to maintain Afghanistan's 100% victory record against them in this format.
Five batters were out for ducks, three of them first ball, and only George Munsey (25 off 18 balls) scored more than 12.
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