England took the knee for the second time in two matches at the T20 World Cup, joining Bangladesh in the anti-racism gesture ahead of their Super 12s showdown in Abu Dhabi.
A day after Quinton De Kock caused a stir by refusing to do so, withdrawing from South Africa’s game against the West Indies as a consequence, England’s players and staff took the knee as did their opponents.
Eoin Morgan’s side conducted the gesture alongside the Windies on Saturday – indicating it was a signal of respectful reciprocity for their opponents – and marked the first time any England men’s team had taken the knee since the summer of 2020.
England took the knee alongside the Windies and Ireland last year before the practice was shelved, but they wore T-shirts carrying several anti-discrimination messages in a ‘Moment of Unity’ in their home matches this summer.
Morgan stated last week “if we could do that every game, we would” and was backed up by Jos Buttler on the eve of the game against Bangladesh, but the kit regulations for ICC events preclude them from doing so.
“Our position is we stand against any form of discrimination,” Buttler said on Tuesday. “What we’d like to do as a team is a ‘Moment of Unity’, which we did at times during our summer.
“I think we’d have to get some clearance from the ICC for that. It’s something we’d like to do as a team but I don’t know the specifics around it.
“We wanted to reciprocate the opposition. The West Indies like to take a knee, so we wanted to reciprocate that in the first game.
“As a side and our culture as a team, we of course stand against any form of discrimination and we are very passionate about that.”
50th IT20 🧢61 off 38 🏏Player of the Match 🏆
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It is understood the ICC contacted the 16 teams ahead of the tournament about making anti-racism gestures, denying the England and Wales Cricket Board’s application for its players to wear their ‘Moment of Unity’ T-shirts.
“After some teams expressed a desire to make a gesture against racism, the ICC offered all the teams the opportunity to do so if they wished,” an ICC spokesperson said.
England went on to beat Bangladesh by eight wickets, with Jason Roy hitting 61 off 38 balls in his 50th T20 international at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Roy said on the issue of taking a knee: “It’s an integral part of the way we play our cricket.
“Our team is extremely diverse with people from all over the world. It’s only right that we support that and we support what they are going through.