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Black Lives Matter Movement

South Africa cricketers take the knee in their T20 World Cup opener against Australia. (Getty)
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Cricket South Africa Confirms The Proteas Will Continue To Take The Knee During Netherlands, India Series

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has confirmed that the Proteas will continue to take the knee before matches in the upcoming summer season. The Proteas will face the Netherlands in a three-match ODI series which gets this Friday, 26 November underway.

Mark Boucher’s men will then welcome India for three-Test cricket matches, three ODI matches, and a further four T20’s between December and January.

The Proteas in a huddle. Photo: Twitter @OfficialCSA
The Proteas in a huddle. Photo: Twitter @OfficialCSA

Cricket South Africa Confirms The Proteas Will Take The Knee Against Netherlands And India

Now, Cricket South Africa has confirmed an agreement in place with the team captains, players, and management for the Proteas to take the knee before their matches. Cricket South Africa announced the news in a media statement released on Wednesday night, saying the meeting with everyone involved took place on Tuesday night.

“Following a meeting between the board, led by the chair of the board and team captains and team management last night it was confirmed that the gesture of taking the knee will continue for the forthcoming season,” reads the statement.

“The board had clarified that for the rest of the season the Proteas should continue to take the knee as a contribution towards the global sports endeavor to demonstrate its commitment to eradicating racism and all forms of discrimination,” added the statement.

Cricket South Africa Image Source : TWITTER/CSAOFFICIAL
Cricket South Africa Image Source: TWITTER/CSAOFFICIAL

CSA board chairperson Lawson Naidoo admitted it was important to engage the players and Proteas captains before making this decision, whilst he also spoke about the importance of the Proteas taking the knee.

“The decision to engage the players on the gesture of taking the knee was not taken lightly and we are delighted that we had the opportunity to engage with the captains and that this has now been accepted as a matter of principle,” said Naidoo.

“The gesture is an important stance in articulating an unequivocal determination against discrimination in sports and in society, and one in which South African sportsmen and women should be taking the lead,” concluded Naidoo.

The latest developments will be considered groundbreaking after the Proteas made the headlines in the recent 2021 T20I World Cup following Quinton de Kock’s refusal to take the knee. Quinton de Kock was subsequently withdrawn from the Proteas team, but he was later brought back after apologizing and explaining his reasons for refusing to take the knee.

Quinton de Kock Refused To Take A Knee In T20I World Cup Match Against Windies But Later Apologized

At the time, the Proteas wicket-keeper and batsman said his refusal stemmed from the fact that Cricket South Africa enforced the decision at the last without proper consultation with the players. Quinton de Kock’s absence from South Africa’s second T20 World Cup match against 2016 champions West Indies was down to his stand on not taking a knee for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Quinton de Kock Photographer: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Getty Images
Quinton de Kock Photographer: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Getty Images

Quinton de Kock has apologized to his teammates and fans for the “hurt, confusion, and anger” he caused by refusing to follow a Cricket South Africa directive to take the knee at the T20 World Cup and sitting out the game against West Indies.

South African cricketers have been seemingly split on the taking a knee for BLM movement 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 stood with their hands behind their backs even as their teammates used different ways to express their support to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Quinton de Kock Photographer: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Getty Images
Quinton de Kock Photographer: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Getty Images
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Quinton de Kock Criticised As He Is Axed From Team For Refusing To Take A Knee For The Black Lives Matter Movement

Quinton de Kock’s absence from South Africa’s second T20 World Cup match against 2016 defending champions West Indies was down to his stand on not taking a knee for the Black Lives Matter movement. Ex-Zimbabwe cricketer Pommie Mbangwa has slammed Quinton de Kock over his stance on not taking a knee.

South Africa wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock’s refusal to be a part of the team over the Black Lives Matter (BLM) gesture has left many in the cricketing spectrum infuriated. While Quinton de Kock opted out of the team for the match against West Indies over his unwillingness to take a knee, ex-Zimbabwe cricketer Pommie Mbangwa reacted angrily.

Pommie Mbangwa has slammed Quinton De Kock over his BLM stand
Pommie Mbangwa has slammed Quinton De Kock over his BLM stand | Photo Credit: AP

Pommie Mbangwa And Darren Sammy Slams Quinton de Kock For Not Taking The Knee For Supporting Black Lives Matter Movement

While initially, South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma didn’t reveal the reason behind Quinton de Kock dropping himself from the squad, rumours of the stumper doing so over his stand against taking the knee went afloat on social media. Temba Bavuma later confirmed the same, too, but as the news went viral, Pommie Mbangwa, who was on-air as a commentator for the match, was left bemused with the development.

“Excuse me for being political, but I cannot shed my skin. I hope that the discussion at the very least is about how to be united about something that everybody agrees on… also in the hope that there is agreement.”

Pommie Mbangwa wasn’t the only one to react in this manner as former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy joined the bandwagon.

Even former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy joined him in saying: “Sometimes I don’t understand: why is it so difficult to support this movement if you understand what it stands for.”

Temba Bavuma Source: twitter
Temba Bavuma Source: Twitter

South African cricketers have been seemingly split on the taking a knee for BLM movement 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 stood with their hands behind their backs even as their teammates used different ways to express their support to the Black Lives Matter movement. On Tuesday, both these players took the knee with the rest of the squad.

Quinton de Kock And Anrich Nortje Decided Against Taking The Knee In The 1st Match Against Australia

It has also been learned that Quinton de Kock had not taken a knee in South Africa’s first match against Australia either. He, in fact, wasn’t the only one as even pace bowler Anrich Nortje had decided against doing so. After Tuesday’s incident, Cricket South Africa (CSA) released a statement highlighting the entire team needed to stand united on the subject, especially considering the history of the nation.

“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. 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,” the statement read.

As for keeper Quinton de Kock, he hasn’t yet issued a clarification on the subject matter. His future in the Proteas team is also up for debate because of his stance. Whether Quinton de Kock will join the trend to be included in the team or will maintain his stance and continue being sidelined, remains to be seen.

Anrich Nortje was named the Player of the Match for his 1 for 14 from four overs Getty Images
Anrich Nortje was named the Player of the Match for his 1 for 14 from four overs Getty ImagesIn four attempts, 

South Africa rallied to complete a third successful chase against West Indies and get their T20 World Cup campaign on track. Quinton de Kock was replaced by Heinrich Klaasen behind the stumps, who made one fumble but was otherwise tidy, and Reeza Hendricks at the top of the order, who set the tone for the chase.

South Africa’s attack kept West Indies to a modest 143, despite an onslaught from Evin Lewis. Lendl Simmons was too slow, Chris Gayle did not come off and West Indies lost 8 for 64 between the 11th and 20th overs to fall short of what might have been a par score – 160. Reeza Hendricks’ 39 laid the groundwork for South Africa before an 83-run stand between Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram sealed victory in the 19th over.

Anrich Nortje was named the Player of the Match for his 1 for 14 from four overs.

South Africa 144 for 2 (Markram 51*, van der Dussen 43*, Hendricks 39, Hosein 1-27) beat West Indies 143 for 8 (Lewis 56, Pretorius 3-17, Maharaj 2-24) by eight wickets

Ashwell Prince squeezes a run off Danish Kaneria © AFP
Ashwell Prince squeezes a run off Danish Kaneria © AFP
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It Was No Dream To Represent South Africa After Being Targeted Racially: Ashwell Prince

Ashwell Prince, a Proteas batsman who scored 3,665 runs at an average of 41.64 in 66 Tests, claimed he had been labelled a “quota player” and was not made to feel welcome in the national team.

CSA has for several years set racial “targets” to ensure diversity in the team and several players said they had to fight accusations that they were selected only because of their colour.

Ashwell Prince at a press conference
Ashwell Prince at a press conference © Getty Images

Ashwell Prince: It Was No Dream To Represent South Africa

Allegations of racial discrimination in South African cricket have been made during a month of hearings, with one star claiming he was blasted as a “quota player” and that representing the national team was “no dream”.

Another cricketer said a modified version of the 1970s pop song “Brown Girl in the Ring” was used to single him out. What Cricket South Africa (CSA) described as a Social Justice and Nation Building project was sparked by current fast bowler Lungi Ngidi’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.

Lungi Ngidi. Picture: REUTERS
Lungi Ngidi. Picture: REUTERS

Public criticism of Lungi Ngidi’s comments, including from some former players, led to a statement from a group of black former international cricketers that they had suffered discrimination during their careers. An independent ombudsman, advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, has heard testimony from some prominent former players, including Ashwell Prince and Paul Adams.

“You think that you’re playing for your country, that you’re living a dream, but it was no dream,” said Prince, who now coaches the Cape Cobras franchise team.

Ashwell Prince revealed how three fellow national teammates had used the quota issue to insult him during a franchise game the week before he scored a Test century against Australia as an opening batsman, despite not normally batting in that position.

“I raised my bat to my parents, then to my wife on the other side of the stadium and then, lastly and reluctantly, I raised my bat to my teammates,” he said.

“If I had a choice, I wouldn’t have raised my bat to them. We weren’t a team.”

Ashwell Prince said team management including Gary Kirsten as a coach, had rejected a request from another player of colour to discuss South Africa’s history during a team bonding weekend. He said if such discussions had taken place, the Black Lives Matter issue might not have been so controversial.

Paul Adams Had Not Initially Complained But His Wife Pointed Out He Was Racially Being Targeted

Paul Adams, a spin bowler who took 134 wickets in 45 Tests, said he had been called a “brown shirt” in after-match fines meetings when teammates adapted the words of a Boney M song “Brown Girl in the Ring”.

He said he had not initially complained, but his girlfriend, now his wife, had pointed out that he was being racially stereotyped. Several white former players, including current coach Mark Boucher, director of cricket Graeme Smith and recently retired star batsman AB de Villiers, have been mentioned during the hearings. Mark Boucher has stated that he will respond to allegations against him.

South African spinner Paul Adams. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
South African spinner Paul Adams. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Ashwell Prince said he felt unwelcome throughout his nine years in the national team, was labelled a “quota player” by his teammates on several occasions, and experienced racism in the dressing room. He has not been convinced the issues have been resolved to this day.
Ashwell Prince last played for South Africa in 2011 and detailed how the national team had an opportunity in that year to discuss their diverse backgrounds but rejected it, something that he feels has repercussions on the team dynamic today.

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