England and West Indies are set to take a knee before play in tomorrow’s First Test after stand-in captain Ben Stokes said that he and Jason Holder had agreed a “gesture to raise awareness of equality and eradicating racism”.
Both teams will wear shirts with the unofficial Black Lives Matter logo designed by Watford captain Troy Deeney’s partner Alisha Hosannah on the collar, in addition to taking a knee, the action that has become synonymous with the movement across sport.
"I have spoken to Jason Holder and we will support each other with a gesture that raises awareness of equality and eradicating racism. We'll do it before play on day one,” said Stokes.
In addition, the ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison was today set to announce a long-term brooding of the governing body’s inclusion and diversity work across the game, including specific action in black communities.
This comes in response to figures revealing declining involvement from black cricketers at all levels, highlighted around the Black Lives Matter movement. In 1995 there were 33 black British cricketers competing in county cricket, while last year there were just nine black British players and two support staff across the domestic game.
Stokes will become England’s 81st Test captain when he stands in for Joe Root, who is expected to return at Old Trafford next Thursday following the birth of his second child.
England trained for the final time this morning, but the captain is unlikely to name an XI until the toss, which may be delayed with poor weather forecast. With plenty of options Stokes faces a tricky decision over who to select in his bowling attack.
It seems possible that Mark Wood, who has 18 wickets in his last three Tests, will be made to wait until Old Trafford, with Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer selected.