Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has not changed its position regarding its players ‘taking a knee’ and expects them to not participate in the gesture during the T20 World Cup, in keeping with a previously issued directive.
The gesture, in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, has become widely popular in sports, with the West Indies, South Africa, England and Australia – four of the five teams in Sri Lanka’s Super 12 group – all taking a knee during their matches at the T20 World Cup.
There was controversy regarding the gesture after South Africa’s T20 World Cup campaign was thrown into disarray on Tuesday, when former captain Quinton de Kock withdrew himself from the team to face West Indies citing “personal reasons”, although the move came hours after Cricket South Africa (CSA) issued a directive mandating that all players take a knee.
“It has been a long standing position of SLC that the players don’t participate in this gesture, and they have honoured that directive to date,” an SLC official told the Daily Mirror.
“We expect that the players will continue honour that even beyond the World Cup,” the official said, stating that it did not want to be perceived as taking a side on an issue of such controversy.
The directive was issued earlier this year ahead of the tour to the West Indies, where the players stood while the Windies players took a knee.
CSA said the directive was issued as "the different postures taken by team members in support of the BLM initiative created an unintended perception of disparity or lack of support for the initiative", after its players were seen taking a knee, others stood with a raised fist, and the rest standing in attention – all seen as signs of support to the movement. de Kock, however, chose not to participate in any of those gestures.
It was reported that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has permited players to take the knee if they so wished, but have not issued a mandate.