South African batsman Quinton de Kock has apologised for his decision to pull out of Tuesday's T20 World Cup match against the West Indies where his team's players had been directed by their board to "take a knee" as part of an anti-racism message.
Cricket South Africa had mandated the move to avoid any confusion or have differing gestures on the field by South African players. However, De Kock pulled out of the match against the Windies citing 'personal reasons'.
South Africa captain Temba Bavuma later said the team was 'taken aback' by the move from a senior player like De Kock.
However on Thursday - in a statement released by CSA - De Kock said he meant no disrespect and understood the importance of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.
"I understand the importance of standing against racism, and I also understand the responsibility of us as players to set an example," De Kock said.
"If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so.
"I did not, in any way, mean to disrespect anyone. I'm deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused."
De Kock revealed a meeting with the CSA board on Wednesday cleared the air and encouraged him to change his stance.
"I was raised to understand that we all have rights, and they are important. I felt like my rights were taken away when I was told what we had to do in the way that we were told.
"Since our chat with the board, which was very emotional, I think we all have a better understanding of their intentions. I wish this had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided.
"For those who don’t know, I come from a mixed-race family. For me, black lives have mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement."
The wicketkeeper-batsman hopes to return to the team for Saturday’s crucial third group game against Sri Lanka.
"I love every one of my team mates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa."
CSA said they had taken note of De Kock's apology and accepted it.
"The Proteas men’s team has agreed to align and unify in taking the knee for the remaining fixtures of the World Cup," it said in a statement. "Cricket South Africa welcomes all of these developments."