England’s BLM support ‘a very powerful message’
Jos Buttler said the players had sent “a very strong message” after England and West Indies cricketers both “took the knee” before the first Test began, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I think it’s very important for both sides to show solidarity and to do it together,” Buttler said. “I thought it was a very powerful message that needs to be taken forward and I’m glad we were about to be a part of that.”
All players in the squads, as well as support staff and the umpires,
took a knee immediately before the start of a truncated first day, which ended with England on 35 for one. All West Indies players also wore a black glove in their right hand, which they raised in a fist while kneeling.
“It was a great moment, showing something we stand for and that racism has no part in cricket,” said West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel.
West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick thanked England for taking the knee. “I thought it was really wonderful to see England supporting us as well in the whole thing,” he said. “It came off very, very well.”
Buttler admitted that the resumption of international cricket felt “a little bit different,” with no crowds permitted due to Covid-19.
“We have to accept that and we will get used to it,” he said. “We have done a lot of practice in the nets, but nothing quite replicates the intensity of the game.
“The guys will enjoy that, that’s what professional sportsmen have missed. We enjoy competing and we’re all just thankful that we get the chance to do that.”
A combination of rain and bad light meant that only 17.4 overs were possible at the Ageas Bowl. There will now be 98 overs a day for the remainder of the match.