Temba Bavuma said Quinton De Kock's withdrawl took South Africa back as a team. Photograph:( AFP )
South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma said Quinton de Kock's decision to withdraw from the clash against West Indies took South Africa back as a team.
South African players were 'surprised and taken back' as a team after wicket-keeper batter Quinton de Kock's refusal to take a knee and withdraw from his side's clash against West Indies in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021 on Tuesday (October 26). De Kock cited personal reasons to pull out from the game after Cricket South Africa (CSA) released a directive asking the players to take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Bavuma admitted post his side's 8-wicket win against West Indies that the players don't know exactly why De Kock decided to not take a knee to express his support for the anti-racism campaign and pull out of the match. The Proteas captain, however, said he and his teammates will respect the wicket-keeper batter's decision and expect him to stand by it.
"As a team, we are surprised and taken aback by the news. Quinton is a big player for the team, not just with the bat, but from a senior point of view, so not having this at my disposal, as a captain, is obviously something I wasn't looking forward to," Bavuma said after South Africa thrashed West Indies by 8 wickets.
"In saying that, Quinton is an adult. He is a man in his own shoes. We respect his decision, we respect his convictions, and I know he will be standing behind the decision he has taken," he added.
In the absence of De Kock, Henrich Klassen played as a wicket-keeper for the Proteas and did well behind the stumps to help them bounce back after their defeat in the opening clash against Australia. The Proteas didn't miss the presence of De Kock as they bagged a comfortable victory after chasing down the target of 144 runs with ten balls to spare.
"With (Henrich) Klassen coming in it was an opportunity for him and at the end of the day it was another day of cricket for us to play for our country and we had to make sure we live up to that," Bavuma said.
Batting first, West Indies rode on opener Evin Lewis's 56 off 35 balls to post 143/8 on the board in 20 overs as the middle-order crumbled under pressure and failed to deliver in Dubai.
In reply, South Africa got off to a stuttering start losing captain Bavuma cheaply on 2 off just three deliveries before Reeza Hendricks (39) combined with Rassie van der Dussen (43) to post a 57-run stand for the second wicket and set up the run-chase.
Van der Dussen remained unbeaten on 43 and combined with Aiden Markram (unbeaten 51) to add an 83-run stand for the third wicket and take the team over the line. West Indies, on the other hand, suffered back-to-back defeats in their first two games in the Super 12 as the defending champions look set for an early exit from the tournament.