It’s very unfortunate that the exciting ICC the Men’s World T20 Cup-2021 has been subject to a totally unnecessary controversy. Did any team in international tournaments protest against performing their national anthem? Or any team opposes their opponents singing their national songs? It’s not happening, and it’s an accepted custom in nearly every tournament across different fields of sport. This is why the ‘personal choice syndrome is not mentioned here. So, what is it that this problem must be brought up in the ‘taking knees to support a noble cause? Our school instructors commanded us to kneel every time in order to rectify our shortcomings, which is why we’re better people today. Have we ever thought about making a decision in our democracy in those instances? It is clear that the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, founded in 2013 ‘as an uncentralized social and political movement protesting against instances of police brutality as well as all racially motivated violence against blacks’ the worldwide, is a legitimate cause. It has experienced some ups and downs however following the horrific police shooting of black protester George Floyd in the US in 2020 it has gained international recognition and Michael Holding, ex-cricketer of the West Indies, took painstaking efforts to introduce it to the world of cricket. Unfortunately for him, his game was marred by the brutal manifestations of racism several times during international cricket, not just with blacks, but also the so-called “colored players.
We have witnessed in the majority of the games so far in this World Cup teams taking the knee prior to kick-off to express their solidarity against the violence of racism. The ICC did not issue any official directive for this gesture and made it voluntary for the teams. Cricket South Africa (CSA) is the country which was and was criticized by the international community for several years because of their notorious policy of the Apartheid and has shown excellent in making the move mandatory for their team prior to the beginning of the season. What’s wrong with taking this step? And what exactly is it that makes individual choice arise in these global issues? Team India has also adopted the gesture as directed from their cricket board and England made the same gesture during their game against the West Indies like most other teams.
The gesture of respect was made during South Africa’s starter match against Australia however there was no involvement of all players. However, in the end, and especially as the encounter was against the West Indies, South Africa’s main bowler and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock raised an issue out it, calling his refusal to kneel because of personal reasons. The player did not just refuse to do so and resigned from the match within the last minutes which was confirmed by the CSA. This is quite troubling, due to the fact that de Kock has also been an integral player in the Indian Premiere League (IPL) throughout the years, playing with the Mumbai Indians (the franchise may release him soon due to the negative impact) that included a lot of black and colored players. However, India is a country that is dominated by colored people. Why then has de Kock never objected to being a constant participant as a key player? If his “personal decision” is not to be a part of the BLM movement, then it’s an indication of racism, or de Kock is perhaps a committed supporter of the ‘white supremacy’ idea that has been propounded by the ex-President of the USA, Donald Trump. We condemn his action in this World Cup which may ultimately adversely impact his entire professional cricket career. South Africa, obviously, would not want to lose such a crucial player. The CSA has to render its final decision regarding what happens to Quinton de Kock, despite the fact that some media reports suggest the player has been withdrawn from the entire tournament, while some believe that this is the last time we had seen de Kock on the field.
We are hoping for a peaceful solution for all those involved in the noble cause up, respecting the ideals and the movement that was the work of Nelson Mandela and suitable punishment for anyone guilty of being racist. The ICC, in fact, should take this chance to make the ‘taking the knee’ an obligatory gesture for all participating teams. The Council has the right to ban any kind of religious or political actions however, in defending this noble cause there cannot be any doubt or the principles of democratic decisions.
In the match against the difficult West Indies where the controversy was raging, South Africa won easily, with no de Kock. In other matches Afghanistan was able to record an enormous win over the topper of the qualifying Group-B Scotland and even larger than the victory of Pakistan against India. Pakistan continue to enjoy a flurry of victories by defeating New Zealand, although they were unable to reach the lower target of 135 runs. England in Group-1 continue to keep their bulldozing saga in progress by beating Bangladesh. The two teams Pakistan and England are apparently enjoying their luck thus far , as per the behavior of the slow pitch and the dew factor later for the bowling team. After making history by making it to the Super-12 stage for the first time, beating a highly-ranked Ireland, Namibia won their first match at the World Cup against Scotland with relative comfort in Group-2.
Chinmay Chakravarty is a professional skilled in the field of art and design with more than two years of experience in journalism, writing, media co-ordination, film script writing dubbing film as well as film and video production and management of international film festivals as well as editing of journals and books. Expertly providing professional assistance in these areas. Was an officer of Indian Information Service and superannuated from the position of Director, Press Information Bureau, Kolkata in November, 2019. published his first solo novel ‘Laugh and Let Laugh’ in 2017 and his follow-up book “The Cheerless Chauffeur and other Tales 2021.