June 9 (Reuters) – South Africa will leave it up to individual players to decide whether to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the first test against West Indies in Saint Lucia starting on Thursday.
The home side have confirmed they will take a knee before the game, but South Africa captain Dean Elgar says his team will allow each player to make up his own mind about what to do.
The South African players have previously worn black armbands or raised their right fists in a salute, but have refused to take a knee, a stance which drew criticism, including from the interim Cricket South Africa board.
“It has been quite a journey for our side with regards this topic,” Elgar told reporters on Wednesday. “We had a meeting with West Indies Cricket and gave them our version of how we would support their campaign.
“We have given our players the right to perform whichever gesture they want to. If they are comfortable with taking the knee, they may. If a player wants to use our previous gesture, which was to raise the right first, they are entitled to do that.”
Elgar admits some team mates may decide not to make any gesture at all, but believes it is important to support West Indies Cricket in their endeavour to highlight BLM.
“There are players that aren’t comfortable serving a gesture, but we have come to the West Indies to respect their campaign. We have come here on the back of a lot of long chats in our squad and it has maybe taken us a year to reach this point,” he said.
“If players aren’t comfortable (doing anything), they must still stand to attention so we can respect the campaign.”
(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Click For Restrictions – https://agency.reuters.com/en/copyright.html