Players stop taking the knee as focus turns to drive for diversity
England have become the first professional team in the UK who had been taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement to stop doing so.
Both England and the West Indies took the knee throughout their three-match Test series last month. The teams and their support staff made the gesture in unison before the first ball of the three-Test series following talks during the build-up.
England and Ireland also took the knee during their one-day international series, but neither England nor Pakistan took the knee before the opening day’s play at Emirates Old Trafford.
The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that they will now stop taking the knee. “The players wore the Black Lives Matter logo and took the knee throughout the West Indies series in solidarity and respect to the message and our rivals,” said an ECB spokesperson.
“It remains a hugely important issue for both the ECB and the players, as there is no place for discrimination of any kind in cricket or society. The ECB is continuing to develop plans and consult with the game to make cricket more inclusive and diverse, and we recently set out a range of action we are taking to address some of the feedback we’ve received as we seek to drive real change.”
As The Daily Telegraph revealed in June, the number of black British cricketers in the men’s first-class game has declined from 33 in 1994 to nine last season. There has been only one black British head coach of a county this century, Mark Alleyne. Alleyne, who won two trophies in his four seasons with Gloucestershire, has said that “the numbers are disgusting”.
Last month, the ECB announced a raft of initiatives to increase diversity in the sport. It launched a game-wide anti-discrimination charter and code, declared its ambition to make leadership and governance more diverse and created a new bursary for future black coaches.