London, July 2 (IANS) The England Mens Test team will wear a Black Lives Matter logo on their playing shirts when they face West Indies in the #raisethebat three-match Test Series, starting July 8. The decision was taken by the England and Wales Cricket Board, fully supported by the England players led by Test captain Joe Root and stand-in captain for the first Test Ben Stokes.
In a mark of solidarity, the team will join the West Indies and carry an identical logo on their playing shirts. The Black Lives Matter emblem was designed by Alisha Hosannah, the partner of Troy Deeney, professional footballer and captain of Premier League side Watford Football Club. He was contacted by ECB and CWI and permission was granted for the logo to be displayed on the collar according to ICC regulations.
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.
“Our support of that message is not an endorsement, tacit or otherwise, of any political organisation, nor the backing of any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.
“We are aware of certain aspects of the movement that promote their own political views, and their actions are not supported in any way by the ECB and our players.
“This moment is about unity. We are proud that our players will stand alongside those from the West Indies and wear a logo that embodies that philosophy. It is fitting that they do so in solidarity with athletes from the football world who wore it first. Our thanks go to Troy Deeney and his partner Alisha Hosannah, creator of the logo, who generously agreed to share it with us.
“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.”
England men’s Test captain Joe Root, 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.
“The majority of us do not understand what individuals from BAME 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.
“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.”
Troy Deeney, added: “Alisha and I are immensely proud to be asked and take part in a monumental moment in world sport, this amazing decision by the England and West Indies cricket teams to show their support for Black Lives Matter.
“When I got the call, I didn’t hesitate to respond, because I know as sportspersons in the spotlight, how important our efforts are to bring about change and the role we play in moving towards change in our society.
“Watching cricket with my grandad shaped my childhood, so it’s great to be able to help England and West Indies Cricket to show their support in such a meaningful way.”