Ben Stokes will lead England in a “gesture” of support for the Black Lives Matter movement when international cricket returns on Wednesday, but stopped short of confirming that his players would take a knee.
Both England and the West Indies will carry the Black Lives Matter symbol on their collars during the first #raisethebat Test at the Ageas Bowl, but both sets of players are ready to take an additional stance before play begins at 11am.
The tourists have openly discussed taking the knee and were finalising their position on the eve of the match, while Stokes confirmed his first match as England captain would begin with an act of solidarity to the cause.
After Stokes’ heroics helped England win the World Cup last year, one-day skipper Eoin Morgan made a point of highlighting the diversity of the team he presided over.
It was a point Stokes referred back to as he prepared for his first time in charge.
“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,” he added.
“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.”