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Jos Buttler said that England had sent “a very strong message” after England and West Indies cricketers both took the knee before the first Test began in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I think it’s very important for both sides to show solidarity and to do it together,” Buttler said. “I thought it was very powerful, and a very powerful message that needs to be taken forward and I’m glad we were about to be a part of that.”
All players in the squads, as well as support staff and the umpires, took a knee immediately before the start of a truncated first day, which ended with England on 35-1. All West Indies players also wore a black glove in their right hand, which they raised in a fist while kneeling.
"It was a great moment, showing something we stand for and that racism has no part in cricket,” said West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel.
West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick thanked England for taking the knee.
“I thought it was really wonderful to see England supporting us as well in the whole thing,” he said. “It came off very, very well.”
Buttler admitted that the resumption of international cricket felt “a little bit different”, with no crowds permitted due to Covid-19.
“We have to accept that and we will get used to it,” he said. “We have done a lot of practice in nets, we’ve done everything we can do but nothing quite replicates the intensity of the game.
“The guys will enjoy that, that’s what professional sportsmen have missed. We enjoy competing and we’re all just very thankful that we get the chance to do that.”
But a combination of rain - which delayed the start until 2pm - and bad light meant that only 17.4 overs were possible on the first day at the Ageas Bowl. There will now be 98 overs a day for the remainder of the Test match to make up as many overs as possible.
“It was a frustrating day wasn’t it,” said Buttler. “It was bound to happen after such a long wait for cricket. Everyone is just delighted to be back, there has been a lot of hard work to get the game on. We are grateful to the West Indies for coming over and being part of the series.”