ENG vs WI: Players take a knee to support Black Lives Matter movement

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The cricket season is back!

The first international cricket match since March 2020 kicked off on 8th July 2020 when hosts England took on the West Indies in Southampton for the first test match in a series of three test matches between the two nations.

However, what stood out was the poignant gesture of players, support staff and match officials taking the knee to show their solidarity towards the Black Lives Matter movement. All members of the West Indies team also raised their right fist while kneeling, in which they wore a black glove.

Rains and a wet outfield delayed the onset of the match by a few hours. But, once the game started, the players of both the teams stood in a semi-circle and observed a minute of silence to honour all the lives lost across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as to commemorate the life of West Indies cricketing legend Sir Everton Weekes, who passed away on 1st July 2020 at the age of 95.

After this, all the players on the field and the umpires Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth took a knee. While English batsmen Rory Burns and Dom Sibley knelt at the crease, the rest of the England squad players and support staff knelt on the boundary lines.

Players from both the teams are carrying the Black Lives Matter logo on the collar of their playing shirts.

Stand-in captain for England Ben Stokes, filling in as England captain for the first Test while Joe Root is on paternity leave, said on the eve of the match, “There is going to be a gesture shown from us as a team in support of Black Lives Matter towards the equality in society throughout cricket and throughout sport. We aren’t in any way, shape or form showing support towards any political matters on the movement. We are all about the equality through society and sport.”

The match is being played without an audience and after repeated testing of players and the staff for COVID-19.

This gesture by both the cricketing team is certainly worth appreciation. Let us know what you think about it in the comments section below.

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