England and West Indies players will take a knee together in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of today’s first Test at the Ageas Bowl.
The gesture, which has become synonymous with the BLM movement, has been made before kick-off since Premier League matches resumed last month.
And it will now feature prior to the first international sporting contest on English soil since the coronavirus lockdown, following talks between stand-in England captain Ben Stokes and his counterpart Jason Holder.
Jofra Archer has pledged that England’s support of Black Lives Matter is a long term promise
Members of both teams will display the BLM logo — designed by Watford footballer Troy Deeney’s partner Alisha Hosannah — on their shirt collars throughout the three-match #raisethebat series.
And writing in his Sportsmail column, Jofra Archer revealed that the England dressing room is intent on a longer-term commitment to raising awareness.
‘We want to show our support long after this series is over. It might not just be wearing the BLM logo but doing other things,’ Archer said.
‘What happens going forward is still up in the air but should be sorted by the end of the summer.’
Archer and the rest of both sets of players will take a knee before the first Test on Wednesday
The two teams will also sport the Black Lives Matter movement’s logo on their cricket whites
England’s internal meetings on the issue have been led by Mark Saxby, the team’s massage therapist whose wife Alison is from the Caribbean.
Stokes said: ‘There’s going to be a gesture from us in support of Black Lives Matter. We aren’t showing support towards any political matters. We’re all about the inequality in society.
‘We have an opportunity to send a powerful message and I’m really excited that we’re able to be a part of that. Without the diversity we’ve shown as a team over however many years we might not be World Cup champions and one of the best Test teams in the world.’
Ben Stokes spoke of his excitement at being able to send a powerful message of solidarity