Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma has defended his teammate Quinton de Kock on Tuesday, following some extraordinary developments at the T20 World Cup. Just before South Africa began their match against the West Indies in the UAE, the glovesman decided to drop out of the squad – because of his stance on taking the knee.
Why did Quinton de Kock refuse to take the knee?
Cricket SA had informed the players that they will all be expected to perform the anti-racism gesture ahead of each match they play in the tournament. However, de Kock refused to take the knee, due to alleged concerns about the political goals of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Despite this chaos, South Africa kept their chaos and breezed past a languid West Indian side, cruising to an eight-wicket victory. Aiden Markram glided to a suave 51* to guide the Proteas home.
Temba Bavuma opens up on de Kock fall out
Alas, after the game, Bavuma was the one who had to face up to the media – and to be fair to the skipper, he handled the probing questions about de Kock magnificently. The opening batsman admitted that the whole affair took the team by surprise, but couldn’t confirm if Quinton would play in the Proteas’ next World Cup match.
“We were surprised by the news. Quinton is a big player for this team, and he’s a senior leader for us. Not having that at my disposal as a captain wasn’t ideal. But he is an adult, we respect his decision, and we know he will be standing behind it. Unfortunately, we still had to go out and play a game of cricket – but we got into the right mental space.”
“I don’t know how far this will develop, I can only speak about today. It wouldn’t be my decision to replace Quinton, that’s up to the selectors. But he’s still a teammate, and whatever support needs, we are there to give it to him.”
Taking the knee ‘gives Temba Bavuma a headache’
Temba Bavuma also explained how things unfolded on Tuesday. According to the man with the armband, the players were only informed THIS MORNING about Cricket SA’s new directives for taking a knee. Bavuma, though regretful about the way things played out, said he still respects de Kock’s right to his own opinions:
“We only got the instruction from the board this morning, and the message was passed on to us while we were on the bus. During that trip, Quinton made his decision – but I only found out when I got to the stadium. It probably wasn’t ideal to hand us this instruction so close to a game. But the good thing is that we still went out there and did well.”
“There wasn’t a great deal of time for us to discuss things thoroughly. We had to find a way to move forward. In the next few days, it won’t be easy for the group, but we have time to understand his decision a bit more. But like I say, he is an adult, and you have to respect his stance whether you agree with it or not.”