South Africa’s wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton De Kock took the knee alongside his teammates ahead of the Proteas T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Saturday in Sharjah, UAE. All eyes were on De Kock after his controversial decision to withdraw from the team just before they took on the West Indies on Tuesday.
After the controversy on Tuesday, the player issued a statement, in which he apologised to his teammates and fans in South Africa.
“I did not, in any way, mean to disrespect anyone by not playing against West Indies, especially the West Indian team themselves,” said De Kock.
“Maybe some people don’t understand that we were just hit this on Tuesday morning, on the way to a game.”
He is referring to the Cricket South Africa (CSA) board directive that instructed the entire national team to take a collective knee against racism.
“I felt like my rights were taken away when I was told what we had to do in the way that we were told,” said De Kock explaining his decision to withdraw from the team.
The player was accused of being a racist for his stance on the matter at the time. “I am not a racist. In my heart of hearts. I know that. And I think those who know me know that,” he said.
De Kock said he had a “very emotional” chat with the board and now has a better understanding of their intentions.
“I love every one of my teammates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa.
“If taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so,” said De Kock.