West Indies and England women will take a knee in support of Black Lives Matter during their five T20Is starting on Monday.
Stafanie Taylor, the West Indies captain, revealed on Saturday that the teams would perform the gesture and praised England counterpart Heather Knight for offering her side’s support for any way the visiting side wanted to recognise the movement.
“They’re very much in support of it,” Taylor said of the England side. “It’s very much what we want to do, and they’re going to support whatever we decide, and, yeah, we are going to be honouring the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We will be wearing the Black Lives Matter movement logo on our jersey but, yeah, we’ll be taking a knee for all the games.”
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The England and West Indies men’s teams wore the same logo on their shirts during the Test series in July. They also took a knee before the start of play throughout the series, as did England and Ireland for their three ODIs. But England, Pakistan and Australia did not perform the gesture during their series, drawing criticism from West Indies great Michael Holding.
“It means a lot to us,” Taylor added of England women’s support. “A lot has been happening around the world and you pretty much want to be on the same page. It was really nice of her [Knight] to send a message to say, ‘Hey Staf, you know, we’re very much in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and we want to support it as best as we can, so let me know what it is that you want to do.’ That brings a smile to all of our faces.”
All matches will be played behind closed doors at Derby, where West Indies have been based for three weeks.
“It feels like home,” Taylor said. “Normally when we go on a tour it’s like we’re the away team, but this time it feels like we’re the home team pretty much. The girls are in great spirits. We’ve had a few weeks to get out there and get used to the conditions and everything is going well.”
Monday’s series opener will be the first women’s international since 86,174 people watched Australia defeat India in the T20 World Cup final in March. Australia will play New Zealand in three T20Is from September 26, followed by three ODIs.
“Given what happened in the World Cup, we had 80 something thousand people at the game and probably how many millions actually watching, you definitely want to see the rise again,” Taylor said. “And it’s hard with COVID now, kind of setting the game back. It’s really nice that the women are back up and running.”
Taylor, who was stretchered off with a groin injury during West Indies’ penultimate fixture of the T20 World Cup, has missed one of two intra-squad warm-up matches since arriving in England, although she scored 71 in the first.
And while allrounder Deandra Dottin has bowled just two overs across both matches as she continues her comeback from shoulder surgery, she has been in decent touch with the bat scoring 41 and 29. Lee-Ann Kirby scored an unbeaten 85 in the second warm-up and Taylor was not worried that those were the only real innings of note.
“No it’s not, it’s not a concern at all,” she said. “We basically played against ourselves, and if you split the team, you have to try and balance it. When you look at the scorecard, you basically see that most of the batters who were actually getting runs were the batters, which is good.
“That’s what we need, we need the batters to spend that time out in the middle, get yourself in. Even though we’re playing against ourselves, you know, mark yourself hard and I think we did just that.”
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