English cricketers will join the West Indies team in sporting the ‘Black Lives Matter’ logo on the collars of their shirts during the upcoming “Raise the bat’ Test series to protest against racism in sports.
The decision taken by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was fully supported by the England players led by Test skipper Joe Root and stand-in captain for the opening Test, Ben Stokes.
In a mark of solidarity, the team will join the West Indies and carry an identical logo on their playing shirts, an ECB release said. “It is important to show solidarity to the black community and to raise much needed awareness around the topics of equality and justice. The England players and management are unified in this approach and will use the platform of international cricket to fully support the objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists,” Root said.
“The majority of us do not understand what individuals from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds have to go through when people make judgments because of the colour of their skin. As a group, we are learning about this and educating ourselves,” he added.
The skipper, who will miss the first Test beginning on July 8 to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, said his team hopes to raise awareness about the issue by sporting the logo.
“There has to be equal opportunity and equal rights for all. We hope by making this stance we can play our part in standing shoulder-to-shoulder as a team and we hope that by continuing to raise awareness we can move towards a society in which the colour of your skin and your background has no bearing on your opportunities.
“It is very simple, we believe there is no room for racism or any form of discrimination, anywhere,” Root added.
The ICC-approved logo, designed by Alisha Hosannah, will be the one which featured in the shirts of all 20 Premier League football clubs since the sport’s resumption last month.
Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said: “The England and Wales Cricket Board fully support the message that Black Lives Matter. It has become a message of solidarity and a drive for progress and societal change. There can be no place for racism in society or our sport, and we must do more to tackle it. “We have a responsibility to ensure that cricket is truly a game for everyone. We will shortly set out further steps that build on the work we have already done to make cricket more inclusive and diverse in order to address some of the barriers which still exist for some communities,” he added.
The England team is currently preparing for the first Test in a bio-secure environment at the Ageas Bowl.
All players and management live, train and play on-venue and is part of comprehensive medical and operational protocol to ensure all players and staff can play safely due to the impact of COVID-19.
The series will mark the resumption of international cricket after the coronavirus-forced hiatus.
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