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Buttler salutes show of solidarity

 

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Message: Roston Chase of the West Indies takes a knee

Message: Roston Chase of the West Indies takes a knee

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Message: Roston Chase of the West Indies takes a knee

England vice-captain Jos Buttler hopes his side's decision to join their West Indian opponents in taking a knee sends a "very powerful message" about cricket's support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

It was already known that both sides would be wearing the BLM logo on their collars in recognition of the global anti-racism protests that followed the killing of George Floyd in the United States, but they added a striking visual before the start of play.

The West Indian team took up their fielding positions at the Ageas Bowl before all 11, joined by England batsmen Dom Sibley and Rory Burns and umpires Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth, put one knee to the turf in unison.

The action was replicated off the field, with the remaining squad players and every member of backroom staff lining up along the boundary rope to show support.

The West Indies group each wore a single black glove and raised their right fist, in a call back to the 1968 Olympics, where American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos made the gesture while on the podium.

"I think it's very important for both sides to show solidarity and to do it together," said Buttler.

"I thought it was very powerful and a very powerful message that needs to be taken forward. I'm glad we were able to be a part of that."

Regular rain delays meant there were only 17.4 overs possible, with England reaching 35 for one. Sibley was the man down, marking his first Test innings since January with a four-ball duck, cleaned up by Shannon Gabriel offering no shot.

England's assistant coach Graham Thorpe said: "It's unfortunate for Dom at the top.

"He's waited a long time, had lots of practice, lots of training, but he'll be okay. He's a tough cookie."

England will resume with Burns on 20 not out and Joe Denly unbeaten on 14, with the latter potentially vying with next man Zak Crawley for one place ahead of a notable return for the second Test.

"I wouldn't say it's a straight shoot out but guys will know that Joe Root is going to return to the team," said Thorpe.

"Individuals can feel a certain amount of pressure but there is pressure in international cricket."

l CRICKET Ireland have appointed Stuart Barnes, the Somerset assistant and specialist bowling coach, to fulfil a similar role in the upcoming ODI series against England.

Barnes is the temporary replacement for Rob Cassell, who parted company with the Ireland squad after the series against Afghanistan in March, and will be with the squad for the duration of their 18-day stay at the bio-secure venue in Southampton.

The squad leaves Dublin on Saturday, July 18 with the first ODI on Thursday, July 30.

Belfast Telegraph