SA sport returns with 3TCricket under BLM cloud

Faf du Plessis is among the country's elite white players who will take a knee ahead of this weekend's 3TCricket match. Picture: Getty Images

Cricket will be the first sport in South Africa to resume competition this weekend, and while starved fans will be eager to catch some action, much of the focus in advance has centred around an ongoing Black Lives Matter debate.

The BLM logo might not be printed on their playing shirts for Saturday’s three-team Solidarity Cup event in Centurion, but some of the country’s top white players have eased the tension in the build-up by joining the movement and publicly expressing their support for the anti-racism drive.

Cricket South Africa director of cricket Graeme Smith indicated previously that the playing shirts had already been printed, for an event that was originally meant to take place on June 27, when the cricketing world began to embrace the BLM movement.

Nevertheless, with Proteas captain Faf du Plessis expected to take a knee on Saturday along with other white players including Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje, it could be a powerful show of solidarity towards Lungi Ngidi and the growing list of current and former black players who had spoken out in support of BLM.

Du Plessis took matters further this week by apologising for his comment that the national team “don’t see colour” when Temba Bavuma was left out of the Newlands Test against England at the start of the year.

“I surrender my opinions and take the knee as an intercessor,” Du Plessis said in a social media post on Friday.

“I acknowledge that South Africa is still hugely divided by racism and it is my personal responsibility to do my best to empathise, hear the stories, learn and then be part of the solution with my thoughts, words and actions.

“I have gotten it wrong before. Good intentions were failed by a lack of perspective when I said on a platform that I don’t see colour. In my ignorance I silenced the struggles of others by placing my own view on it.”

Van der Dussen and Pretorius, who both play for the Central Gauteng Lions, said they too supported BLM.

“I will be taking a knee on Saturday,” Pretorius said in a social media statement.

“I honestly and wholeheartedly believe it’s the right thing to do. I also believe taking the knee is only the start.

“To me the BLM movement stands for the most basic rights all people across the world deserve, and that is the right to not be judged or segmented because of his/her colour, but rather for who they are.”

Van der Dussen was asked by journalist Max du Preez (also on social media) where he and several other Proteas stood on BLM, and the 31-year-old batsman posted in Afrikaans: “I support BLM. I’m against murder. I’m against all murders: physical, character and cultural murders. I support equal opportunities for all.”

The first match to be held in the 3TCricket format, Saturday’s clash was set to involve three teams of eight competing with each other at the same time, with each team batting for six overs against each opponent.

A total of 36 overs – 12 overs per side – would be played, and while the game was set to be played behind closed doors, it would be broadcast live by SuperSport from 11am.

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