In a statement issued on Thursday morning, following talks with the Cricket South Africa board, the 28-year-old said he would now make the anti-racism gesture before matches.
De Kock withdrew from the XI for the Proteas’ second game of the tournament after CSA issued a last-minute directive that all players must take the knee, showing a united stance against racism.
De Kock, who has not taken the knee in the past (including before the Proteas’ opening game against Australia on Saturday), refused to take part in the win over the West Indies, sparking outrage and creating division in South African cricket. Temba Bavuma, the captain, said his team were “obviously surprised and taken aback” by de Kock’s decision.
This morning de Kock issued a statement apologising, declaring that he is not racist, stating that he is mixed race, and expressing his desire to return to the South Africa team. Their next game is against Sri Lanka on Saturday.
“I would like to start by saying sorry to my team-mates, and the fans back home,” said de Kock. “I never ever wanted to make this a Quinton issue. I understand the importance of standing against racism, and I also understand the responsibility of us as players to set an example.
“If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so.”
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De Kock said he and his team-mates “were just hit with” the directive when travelling to Tuesday’s game, adding: “I won’t lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that there was an instruction that we had to follow, with a perceived ‘or else’. I don’t think I was the only one.
“The rights and equality of all people is more important than any individual. 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.”
De Kock said that he did not understand why he had to prove he was anti-racist “with a gesture”.
De Kock held “very emotional” talks with CSA’s board last night, which led to his change of heart today.
“I wish this had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided,” he said. “I think it would of been better for everyone concerned if we had sorted this out before the tournament started.
“I just want to thank my teammates for their support, especially my captain, Temba. People might not recognise, but he is a flipping amazing leader,” he said. “If he and the team, and South Africa, will have me, I would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again.”
CSA added a statement, “welcoming the developments”, saying the team had “agreed to align and unify in taking the knee for the remaining fixtures of the World Cup campaign”.
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