England and West Indies take a knee before first Test in support of Black Lives Matter
Last Updated: 09/07/20 2:03pm
England and West Indies have taken a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the first #raisethebat Test at The Ageas Bowl.
Players and coaching staff from both sides, as well as the umpires, knelt just before the start of play on Wednesday afternoon, while both sides wore the Black Lives Matter symbol on their collars in Southampton.
England and West Indies also observed a minute's silence for all those who have died due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as for West Indies great Sir Everton Weekes, who passed away aged 95 last week.
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Earlier this week stand-in Test captain Ben Stokes confirmed England would perform a gesture ahead of the match to show their support for equality and diversity.
Stokes said: "I feel as a team that we have an opportunity to send a real powerful message. I am really excited as an individual, and the team is really excited that we are able to be a part of that.
"Without the diversity that we have shown as a team over however many years, and the equality that needs to be given, we might not be World Cup champions, we might not be one of the best Test teams in the world.
"We have a great chance to send a real powerful message and to educate people more on the matter."
Speaking at the end of day one, England batting coach Graham Thorpe added: "The bottom line is there is no room for racism in our sport and it was important to show solidarity with West Indies.
"You want children from different races, religions and backgrounds to be able to stand together. That's what we spoke about as a team before the game and if that's a start from the England cricket team to show that then we are proud to have done it."
The three-match #raisethebat Test series, which is being played behind closed doors, is also being used to celebrate those that have helped during the coronavirus pandemic, with each England player taking the field on Wednesday morning bearing a key worker's name on their training kit.
England left Stuart Broad out of their side for the first Test of the three-match series, with Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, and James Anderson forming the pace attack alongside skipper Stokes.