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The cricket world has been left heavily divided after Quinton de Kock withdrew from South Africa's clash with the West Indies at the T20 World Cup over a directive ordering players to 'take the knee'.
A question mark remains over de Kock's further participation at the tournament after he made himself unavailable for Tuesday's match in defiance of a team order to take the knee.
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Captain Temba Bavuma revealed at the toss that wicketkeeper-batsman de Kock had withdrawn from the game due to "personal reasons" just hours after Cricket South Africa (CSA) had ordered the team to kneel before their remaining matches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Only a handful of South African players took the knee before their opening match against Australia, while others didn't raise their fists either - a global gesture to display unity.
"The ...(CSA) 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," CSA said in a statement.
“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.
"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.
“CSA thanks all other Proteas players for agreeing to unite and make such an important public stand against racism.”
Asked if the team would seek a replacement for de Kock, Bavuma said: "I don't know how far it's going to develop.
"It wouldn't be my decision whether to replace Quinton or to get a substitute.
"But as far as we stand, Quinton is still one of the players...so whatever support that he needs...we'll be there for him."
Cricket fans were left heavily divided on the issue, with some slamming de Kock and others taking aim at Cricket South Africa.
Quinton De Kock is a professional athlete not a political pon!!
You can't just order people to make political gestures
Cricket SA is a disgrace!!
— Politically Incorrect (@Thando_Njamini) October 26, 2021
we not saying ONLY black lives matter, but we as a people have taken enough beatings, enough belittling the African! Quinton de Kock had the opportunity to stand up, or rather kneel for us as South Africans but chose to disgrace us on the world stage😪💔
— Mnqobi Mpofu (@Bryce_Figgaz) October 26, 2021
Well done Quentin de Kock for not taking a knee today! @OfficialCSA
Virtue signalling in place of real action is hypocritical. CSA is a disgrace for mandating a protest and removing the individual's choice. What a return to your disgraceful past!!
— Andrew_Macca (@AndrewMacca3) October 26, 2021
The fact that Quinton de Kock has refused to play because he doesn't want to take the knee is a disgrace. Hopefully South African Cricket stay strong and leave him out in the cold if he won't be part of the struggle against racism https://t.co/WpbsklweV8
— Connor (@ConnorBrady21) October 26, 2021
Quinton de Kock has chosen not to play because he won’t take the knee 😳 what an absolute disgrace!!! Seeing as he has some free time, he should learn about South African history & Mandela!! @OfficialCSA should chose to never select him again! #BlackLivesMatter #BLM
— Thashe Raidu-Collier (@thasheRC) October 26, 2021
Shameful what's happening to Quinton de Kock. Players taking the knee or not shouldn't be down to a cricketing governing body. It's bizarre that they or anyone else think it should be.
— James (@jamesgunnwrites) October 26, 2021
If you support a movement, you do not need to give evidence to anyone for that. It is reflected in your gestures. I am with you Quinton de Kock. Cricket South Africa's move is very shameful. #BlackLivesMatter #quintondekock #SAvWI (Bavuma)
— Roopam Anurag (@RoopamAnurag) October 26, 2021
Very disappointing, and quite frankly embarrassing, news from the South Africa dugout today. Quinton De Kock, as an ambassador of the game and a sports icon for youth all over the world, your decision is utterly disgusting.
— Tahir Chaudhri (@Tahir_Chaudhri) October 26, 2021
If Quinton De Kock has been removed from the team by Cricket South Africa because he refuses to take the knee then that’s disgusting. It’s a personal choice. I have had both jabs, but I don’t judge people who haven’t. It’s personal choice. I’d never take the knee. Standard.
— Georgie Webb (@georgiewebb505) October 26, 2021
South Africa overcome de Kock drama to win
De Kock had declined to take a knee in the past, calling it "my own personal opinion".
"As a team, we obviously were surprised and taken aback by the news," Bavuma said of de Kock's withdrawal on Tuesday.
"Quinton is a big player for the team... not having that at my disposal as a captain was obviously something I wasn't looking forward to.
"In saying that, Quinton is an adult. We respect his decision."
CSA said it decided to force players to take the knee after concerns were raised over the "different postures" taken ahead of warm-up matches and the team's opening five-wicket loss to Australia on Saturday.
Some members of South Africa's team had taken the knee with their fists raised, others stood with fists raised while de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Heinrich Klaasen stood with their hands by their side.
Despite the de Kock drama, Dwaine Pretorious (3-17) helped South Africa restrict the two-time champions with Evin Lewis top scoring for the Windies with 56 off 35 balls - one more than the team's paltry total in their opening loss to England at the same venue.
In reply, de Kock's replacement Reeza Hendricks hit 39 before Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen guided South Africa to victory with an unbroken 83-run stand.
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