CSA’s newly elected chair Lawson Naidoo, who was appointed on Tuesday, has expressed that he would want to see the South African cricket team take a strong stance against racism at the international level. He added that South Africa have an added responsibility given their history with racism.
The Black Lives Matter movement made waves last year across the globe. It had even reached the world of cricket when England and West Indies players took a knee before the start of the first Test between both nations after cricket resumed for the first time since the pandemic struck the world. West Indies players regularly take a knee before the matches to stand strongly against racism.
In the Test series against West Indies, even South African players were exhibiting their support for the global fight for social justice, which will be continuing when they take on West Indies in the five-match T20I series. However, unlike West Indies, who take a knee, the Saffers are free to choose any gesture from the following three – kneel, raise a fist, or stand to attention.
However, CSA’s newly elected chair Lawson Naidoo has urged the Saffers to confront racism given their history with it. He wants his players to take the initiatives than react to the ones started by others.
“Given our history in South Africa we have a particular responsibility to confront racism, wherever we see it. During my exile days we had support from the global community for the struggle against apartheid. We should be taking the lead in the fight against racism, not reacting to initiatives that other people are taking. We know better than anybody else the effect it has on a society,” Lawson told Cricbuzz.
He added that he wants to see the Proteas take a unified stance and also revealed that he would engage with the team management to understand the situation better.
“Ideally, I’d like to see the Proteas take a strong stance as a unified team,” Lawson said. “But we need to engage with the team management to understand exactly what their position is. I’ve heard it described in the media but I would want to get a first-hand briefing, and be able to make input.
“And, if necessary, try and persuade them that they need to adapt what they’re doing, because visually it doesn’t come across well. It sends out a message that there are divisions of approach. One’s not seeking to be dictatorial, but to say, ‘You guys need to sit together and come to an agreement’. If one or two disagree, the way democracy works is that you follow the lead of the majority.”
However, South Africa’s ODI and T20I skipper Temba Bavuma believes that players should get the freedom to express themselves as they wish to when it comes to these gestures for social justice.
“The decision stands across the teams and the formats. I was a part the discussion and the decision, so it wouldn’t make sense for the Test team to do one thing and the white-ball teams to do another. I accept the decision to give the guys their freedom to express whatever they want to. At the end of the day it is a personal decision, and we don’t want to get in the way of that,” Bavuma said in an online presser.
West Indies and South Africa will lock horns in the first T20I on Saturday at the National Cricket Stadium, St George’s, Grenada. Earlier, South Africa had defeated the hosts 2-0 in the Test series.