England’s BLM sup­port ‘a very pow­er­ful mes­sage’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Tim Wig­more

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.

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