Several Proteas take the knee, skipper Dean Elgar raises the first against the West Indies

Wiaan Mulder (L), Aiden Markram (C) and Dean Elgar (R) (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP)

Wiaan Mulder (L), Aiden Markram (C) and Dean Elgar (R) (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP)

  • Several Proteas players took the knee in observing the Black Lives Matter movement during the first Test against the West Indies in St Lucia.
  • Images coming from the ground showed the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Rassie van der Dussen taking the knee while captain Dean Elgar raised his fist.
  • It was the first time the South African men’s national team took the knee in an international match. 

The call to take the knee was positively responded to by several Proteas players at the start of the first Test between South Africa and the West Indies at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia.

According to images taken from the ground, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen, Keegan Petersen, Kyle Verreynne, Lungi Ngidi and Keshav Maharaj took the knee while Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder and Anrich Nortje raised their fists.

Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock stood at attention as the Proteas observed the Black Lives Matter movement in the different ways that captain Elgar said they would at Wednesday’s pre-match press conference.

Kagiso Rabada

                                     Kagiso Rabada (AFP)

“We’ve given the players the right to perform whichever gesture they want to perform. If players are comfortable taking the knee, they may,” Elgar told reporters on Wednesday

“If a player wants to do the previous gesture that we had, which is raising the right fist, they are also entitled to do that.

“If players aren’t comfortable, they still need to stand to attention so that they respect the campaign that is rolling out.”

The occasion was the first time South Africa actively took the knee in an international cricket match.

Rassie van der Dussen of South Africa kneels for B

                                     Rassie van der Dussen (AFP)

When they hosted England in November 2020 for a limited overs series, they wore black armbands where they honoured victims of Gender Based Violence and those who lost their lives to Covid-19.

When they hosted Sri Lanka for two Tests over Boxing Day and New Year, they raised their fists at the Boxing Day Test.

In December last year, Cricket South Africa’s interim board expressed its concern with the men’s national team not taking the knee to observe BLM.

Earlier this year, CSA interim board member Professor Andre Odendaal then said they were disappointed by the Proteas not taking the knee.

“We were a little disappointed that our team did not take the knee, which we explained to them at the time. We had discussed it by the time the English were arriving and we supported the taking of the knee. The chairperson wrote to the team and the director of cricket,” Odendaal said.

“The answer was, while the team supported the stand against racism, it had been through a pre-season course of bonding and discussing these matters. They decided on a different approach in which as a group they bought into.

“The board, while maintaining its own position given the strength of the BLM and the action of the taking of the knee throughout the world and with the history of our country, thought it would be most appropriate. It was not something as the board we decreed should happen.”