Dubai – Rassie van der Dussen says the Proteas squad will welcome back their “brother” Quinton de Kock with “open arms”.
De Kock issued an impassioned apology in a two-page statement on Thursday after withdrawing from the previous Proteas T20 World Cup match against the West Indies due to a Cricket SA directive stipulating the entire team to collectively take the knee in the fight against racism.
In the very last line of De Kock’s statement, the Proteas wicket-keeper/batter paid tribute to his “flipping amazing” captain Temba Bavuma and issued a plea that “If he and the team, and South Africa, will have me, I would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again.”
Van der Dussen says this is no longer a matter of debate and they are fully supportive of De Kock’s reintegration into the Proteas team.
“Quinny is one of the best players in the world. The team will welcome him back with open arms. It is not even a case of him having to ask us. We understood what he did. If he is selected, which I am sure he will be, he will come back like nothing ever happened. Nobody holds any grievances,” Van der Dussen said.
“Hopefully he can be in the right frame of mind to deliver those match-winning performances that he has always had and is so valuable to us as a team. More important is having Quinny on the field, and having our brother and friend, and world class player back on the team.
Van der Dussen, who has been one of the more outspoken members of the Proteas team in regards to race relations, claims De Kock always had the support of the entire squad, which indicates the togetherness of the team.
“Quinny is remorseful, and I can say that in a positive way. Even though he took that decision, everyone understood why he took that decision and we supported him even though the timing wasn’t great the whole day, and it was a bit chaotic to the match, but we all supported him.
“That speaks volumes for where we are as a team and a management group that we don’t judge and accept and think for themselves and make their own decisions and we respect that. The team is always an open environment. He didn’t even have to explain himself to us, because we accept people for they are. Our team is a safe space.”
South Africa face Sri Lanka in their next match, with the team preparing for their first outing in Sharjah where the pitches have been slower than the other venues.
Van der Dussen expects the Proteas to adapt for they have shown they can overcome any challenges, particularly in regards to the last victory over the West Indies.
“The start wasn’t ideal on the day. We have learnt, especially as South Africans, things get thrown your way and cards get dealt, and you need to move on and focus on the job at hand. We certainly weren’t going to take it as an excuse or anything. This maybe makes the result even more important, knowing we had to dig deep and rely on everything that we had. I was proud to see how the guys responded and how the guys stood up in those circumstances and we showed what we can do on the field as a team,” he said.
“The wickets have played quite similarly in our matches that we’ve had and the guys have had time to process that going into our next match against Sri Lanka in Sharjah. It will be a venue where it will probably suit them better than us, but as we’ve seen in the last year we’ve really improved in conditions that are foreign to us and we will definitely draw on that.”