CAPE TOWN - Proteas captain Temba Bavuma has admitted that dramatic events that unfolded amid Quinton de Kock’s decision to withdraw from the crucial ICC T2O World Cup, had an emotional effect on the team, although they showed great character to complete an eight-wicket victory over the Windies.
Bavuma on Tuesday said De Kock’s decision was only made on the bus en route from Abu Dhabi to the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
De Kock’s withdrawal was due to not wanting to take a knee in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, after CSA issued a directive Tuesday morning that the Proteas team should take a knee prior to the start of all their remaining matches at the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
“The instruction from the board came in the morning, this morning. A meeting was convened between a couple of members, and that’s where that message was passed on to us. Then before, I guess, getting on the bus to travel to Dubai, that message was passed on to the players,” Bavuma said at the post-match press conference on Tuesday.
“I think the trip was about an hour-and-a-half to two hours. In that trip, I guess that’s where Quinton made his decision. We found out – I found out as the captain – when we got to the changing room.”
Bavuma admitted these dramatic events that unfolded had an emotional effect on the team, although they showed great character to complete an eight-wicket victory over the Windies.
“When the news hit us, it did kind of take us back as a team. A guy like Quinny… he obviously plays an integral role within the team, not just with the bat, but as a senior player. But with that, (Heinrich) Klaasen coming in (as the wicket-keeper), there was an opportunity for him,” Bavuma said.
“It was another game of cricket that we had to play for our country, and we had to live up to that.”
It is unclear at this stage what censure Cricket SA will impose on De Kock, and whether he will indeed remain a part of the T20 World Cup squad, particularly as the directive will be implemented throughout the World Cup.
The governing body said yesterday: “Cricket South Africa (CSA) has noted the personal decision by South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock not to ‘take the knee’ ahead of Tuesday’s game against the West Indies.
“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 sports people 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.”
Bavuma could not provide any further information on De Kock’s continued participation at the T20 World Cup, simply stating: “Quinton is an adult. He’s a man in his own shoes. We respect his decision. We respect his convictions. I know that he’ll be standing behind whatever decision that he’s taken.”
Bavuma stressed that the decision to possibly replace De Kock does not lie with him, and that the wicket-keeper/batter remains “one of the boys”.
“As far as we stand, Quinton is still one of the players. He’s still one of the boys, so whatever support that he needs, whatever shoulder that he requires from his teammates, we’ll be there for him,” Bavuma said.
“If there’s a need for further conversations to be had, I’m sure those will definitely happen among the guys.”