CSA Board regrets the timing of its 'take the knee' directive

Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock pulled out of Tuesday's ICC T20 World Cup match against the West Indies for "personal reasons", defying orders from CSA to their players to follow the anti-racism gesture

FILE: Quinton de Kock of South Africa celebrates his half century during the 5th and final T20I between West Indies and South Africa at Grenada National Cricket Stadium, Saint George's, Grenada, on 3 July 2021. Picture: Randy Brooks/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Cricket South Africa (CSA) board on Thursday stated that it regretted that the timing of its “taking the knee” directive earlier this week may have been unsettling for the players in the lead-up to the match against the West Indies.

This comes after Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock pulled out of Tuesday's ICC T20 World Cup match against the West Indies for "personal reasons", defying orders from CSA to their players to follow the anti-racism gesture.

The CSA directive came after pictures emerged from the team's first game against Australia over the weekend where some players knelt and some stood.

In a statement released on earlier on Thursday morning, De Kock apologised to his teammates and to supporters in South Africa, saying that he understood the importance of standing against racism and that he also understood the responsibility of the players setting an example.

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He said that he never wanted to make it a "Quinton issue."

"I did not, in any way, mean to disrespect anyone by not playing against West Indies, especially the West Indian team themselves. Maybe some people don't understand that we were just hit with this on Tuesday morning, on the way to a game. I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused," De Kock said in the statement.

De Kock explained that he was not a racist for deciding not to follow the directive, saying that he did not understand why he had to show his commitment to the fight against racism with a gesture.

He said that had been shocked by the directive as the team had had meetings on the matter.

"I won't lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that there was an instruction that we had to follow, with a perceived 'or else'. I don't think I was the only one. We had camps. We had sessions. We had zoom meetings. We know where we all stand. And that is together.

He said that he had an emotional discussion with the Cricket South Africa board on Wednesday night and that they all had a better understanding of their intentions as well. He added that it would have been better if the issues had been sorted out before the tournament.

CSA welcomed De Kock's apology and his commitment to take the knee in the future as an anti-racism gesture.

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