Dubai: South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma said Tuesday ‘it wasn’t ideal’ to get a directive on taking the knee hours before the start of their T20 World Cup match against the West Indies. Tenda Bavuma promised to be there for Quinton de Kock, who chose to withdraw from the game instead of following the order. A former captain in all three formats, De Kock opted out moments before toss. He refused to take part in the gesture supporting the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
“Quinton is an adult. He’s a man in his own shoes. We respect his decision. We respect his convictions,” Bavuma, said at a media interaction after his side defeated the defending champions West Indies by eight wickets. Incidentally Bavuma is South Africa’s first black cricket captain,
“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. If there’s a need for further conversations to be had, I’m sure those will definitely happen among the guys,” Bavuma added.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) had Monday evening unanimously agreed to issue a directive requiring Proteas to adopt a consistent and united stance against racism by taking the knee prior to the start of their remaining World Cup matches. The instruction from the board came Tuesday morning and a meeting was convened between a couple of team members before being passed on to the players when they were to travel to Dubai, Bavuma said giving a timeline of the events.
“I think the trip was about an hour-and-a-half to two hours. 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 informed.
Bavuma said it was not ideal to get the directive just before the match but acknowledged that there never was going to be an ideal time.
“It definitely wasn’t ideal. But I think in any case, we would have had to deal with it as players, whether the instruction came this morning, whether it came last night. I think we would have had to deal with it as players,” asserted Bavuma.
“Obviously as a team we’re surprised and taken aback by the news. Quinton is a big player for the team, not just with the bat. The role he plays as a senior and an experience point of view, and not having that at my disposal as a captain was obviously something I wasn’t looking forward to,” the skipper added.
The star wicketkeeper-batter had made it clear in the past as well that the gesture should be an individual choice. He has mostly opted to stand with his hands slung casually behind his back while various gestures were adopted in the past.
Asked whether they would seek a replacement if de Kock continues the stand of not taking the knee, Bavuma said: “I don’t know how far it’s going to develop. I mean, the decision that he’s taken is only today, so I can only speak about what has happened today. It wouldn’t be my decision whether to replace Quinton or to get a substitute. That would be the coach and the selectors’ call.”