Cricket-South Africa's De Kock apologises, says will take a knee in future


FILE PHOTO: South Africa's Quinton de Kock in action in a Twenty20 match against England at Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town, South Africa, November 27, 2020 REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

(Reuters) -Quinton de Kock has apologised for pulling out of Tuesday's Twenty20 World Cup win over the West Indies after rejecting a Cricket South Africa (CSA) directive that players must "take a knee" in support of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.

In a statement released via CSA on Thursday De Kock, who also revealed he has mixed race family, said he meant no disrespect and "would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again".

"I understand the importance of standing against racism, and I also understand the responsibility of us as players to set an example," De Kock said.

"If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so.

"I did not, in any way, mean to disrespect anyone. I'm deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused."

De Kock says his change of heart came after the players had a meeting with the CSA board on Wednesday evening.

"I was raised to understand that we all have rights, and they are important. I felt like my rights were taken away when I was told what we had to do in the way that we were told.

"Since our chat with the board, which was very emotional, I think we all have a better understanding of their intentions. I wish this had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided.

"My half-sisters are Coloured and my step mum is Black. For me, Black lives have mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement."

The wicketkeeper-batsman hopes to return to the team for Saturday’s crucial third group game against Sri Lanka.

"I love every one of my team mates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa."

CSA "noted" De Kock's apology and said it had been accepted.

"The Proteas men’s team has agreed to align and unify in taking the knee for the remaining fixtures of the World Cup," it said in a statement.

"Cricket South Africa welcomes all of these developments."

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Chopra, Robert Birsel/Peter Rutherford)

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