England and West Indies players take a knee in Black Lives Matter tribute

Both teams took a knee before the first Test between England and West Indies

Both teams took a knee before the first Test between England and West Indies (Picture: Getty)

The England and West Indies squads took a knee before the series opener at the Ageas Bowl in tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.

It was confirmed last week that England would join the Windies in displaying a BLM logo on their playing shirts throughout the three-match series.

But England stand-in skipper Ben Stokes and West Indies captain Jason Holder said the players wanted to make another ‘gesture’ to show solidarity with the movement.

Ahead of the first match of the three-match series, both squads gathered either on the pitch or outside the boundary ropes to take a knee.


Speaking ahead of the series opener in Southampton, England stand-in captain Stokes said: ‘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.

‘Not only has this been a period for us getting ready for a Test match, it has also been great for us to have some educational chats as a team around this which has been really beneficial for a lot of our members.’

Both teams are displaying a BLM logo on their playing shirts

Both teams are displaying a BLM logo on their playing shirts (Picture: Getty)

Stokes, who is standing in for the absent Joe Root, added: ‘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.’

Before the first Test, both squads also observed a minute’s silence in the memory of all those who have died from Covid-19 and also for West Indies legend Everton Weekes, who died last week aged 95.

A minute's silence was observed at the Ageas Bowl

A minute’s silence was observed at the Ageas Bowl (Picture: Getty)

The series was named the raisethebat series in honour of key workers from the coronavirus pandemic and Stokes said: ‘We’re only able to play this Test match because of the amazing job that key workers up and down the country have done to help us through this pandemic.

‘Wearing their names is a real honour for us, and is a small sign of our appreciation for the incredible work they have done.

‘They have truly gone in to bat for us all, and it makes me proud of how the whole cricket family has responded to help us get through these unprecedented times.’

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