Australia head coach Justin Langer has accepted Michael Holding’s criticism of England and Australia’s decision to not take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the limited-overs series between the sides.
Holding labelled the reasons given by Australia captain Aaron Finch as “lame” and a “bit flimsy”.
England and West Indies made the gesture of taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during their three-Test series but the practice was stopped after the England-Ireland ODI series. Ahead of the T20I series against Australia, Finch revealed that after a discussion with England captain Eoin Morgan, the teams will not take the knee.
“The education around it is more important than the protest,” Finch said. “I have spoken to Eoin [Morgan] and we are not going to do specific gestures like it has happened in the past.”
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 8, 2020
Holding was especially critical of Finch’s reasoning. “When Pakistan and England did not make that signal the ECB came out with a lame statement,” he told Sky Sports. “I heard nothing from Pakistan. Now Australia have come here and issued a lame statement from the captain.
“He said he and the England captain have spoken. They have decided not to take a knee. All he is saying is he is glad he is part of a sport where nobody is barred from playing because of your race, gender, ethnicity and religion. If you don’t want to recognise the movement then say that and don’t come up with lame excuses. I know that the excuses and reasons are a bit flimsy. They need to come forward with something better than that.”
Langer, however, accepted Holder’s criticism, saying the team “could’ve talked more about it” before the start of the series before adding that the team’s intention was not to show “a lack of respect”.
“All over the world people are doing it. So why have the cricket team stopped? I can’t accept any flimsy excuse.”
What do you make of this?https://t.co/Hv2BzR08U7
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) September 11, 2020
“In terms of the taking a knee,” Langer said, “to be completely honest we could’ve talked more about it perhaps leading up to that first game; there was so much going on leading up to us getting here, maybe we should’ve thought and talked a bit more about it. What we do talk about in the team is we want to have a response that is sustained and powerful and it can go, not just in one action, but sustained periods, not just throughout this series, throughout our summer, but throughout time.
“We’re looking at ways, I know there’s a lot of talk going on within our group about how we can, I know there’s a lot of talking going on about the Australian women’s team as well, about how we can have a sustained and powerful response to Black Lives Matter. It’s incredibly important, and I just hope and certainly from Mikey’s point of view I hope if it looked like there was a lack of respect there, that certainly wasn’t the intention of our team.
“We’re very aware of it, and when Mikey says what he says, then it’s certainly worth listening to and we’ll be doing that.”