South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock made himself unavailable for the match against West Indies in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021 on Tuesday. During the toss, Proteas captain Temba Bavuma said that De Kock has pulled himself out, citing personal reasons.

“Quinny is out, and Reeza is in. He (de Kock) has made himself unavailable for personal reasons,” said Bavuma after winning the toss and opting to bowl first.

However, Cricket South Africa (CSA) revealed that De Kock’s sudden decision not to feature in South Africa’s playing XI came out following CSA’s directive to all players that they must take a knee before the start of remaining fixtures.

Earlier, CSA had given the players three options to show their support for the fight for social justice, either by kneeling, raising a fist, or standing to attention.

Notably, in the Proteas first match against Australia, De Kock was the only player not to take a knee, raise a fist or stand to attention. He stood with his hands slung casually behind his back while other players adopted various gestures.

CSA was concerned that the different postures might create an ‘unintended perception of disparity or lack of support for’ the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement and thus directed players to kneel.

“Cricket South Africa (CSA) has noted the personal decision by South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock not to ‘take the knee’ ahead of Tuesday’s game against the West Indies,” CSA said in a release.

“Concerns were raised that the different postures taken by team members in support of the BLM [Black Lives Matter] 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 South Africa’s history. Several other teams at the World Cup have adopted a consistent stance against the issue, and the Board felt it is time for all SA players to do the same,” the statement added.

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