Black Lives Matter: England & West Indies players take a knee

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport in Southampton

England and West Indies players all took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before the first Test in Southampton.

Match officials also took part, while both sets of players are carrying a logo on their shirts.

West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel told BBC Sport: "It was a great moment, showing something we stand for and that racism has no part in cricket."

England reached 35-1 on a day limited to 17.4 overs by rain and bad light.

After observing a moment's silence to remember the lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic and West Indies great Sir Everton Weekes, the players and officials took their positions as if to start the Test, while other squad members and backroom staff lined the boundary.

They all then dropped to a knee, with many of the West Indies players raising a right hand covered by a black glove.

England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler said: "It was a very strong message and it was very important for both sides to show solidarity and do that together.

"It was a powerful message that needs to go forward and be taken forward and I was glad that we were able to be a part of it."

England batting coach Graham Thorpe added: "Children from different backgrounds, races, religions, you want them to be able to stand together.

"If that is a start from the England cricket team to show that, then we are proud to have done it."

England and West Indies players take a knee
The match is the first international cricket since March

There have been protests around the world since the death of American George Floyd in May.

Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, died after his neck was knelt on by a police officer for nearly nine minutes while he was being restrained.

Premier League players have knelt at the beginning of every match since English football's top flight resumed following the coronavirus lockdown.

Some Formula 1 drivers took a knee before Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix.

In Southampton, the players and officials knelt for just over 20 seconds, and there was also a flag carrying the crest of West Indies and the Black Lives Matter logo hung in the tourists' dressing room.

Asked before the match whether any show of support for Black Lives Matter would be repeated throughout the three-Test series, Stokes said talks between England and West Indies were ongoing.

As they practised on Wednesday morning, England players wore training shirts that carried the names of key workers who have served through the coronavirus pandemic.

The people named on the shirts were nominated by their local cricket clubs and included doctors, nurses, carers and teachers.