England won the three-match T20I series against Australia and the arch-rivals will now go on to play a three-match ODI series in Manchester from Friday. Meanwhile, former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has slammed both the teams for not taking a knee during the series in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Taking a jibe at Australian captain Aaron Finch, Holding called the right-handed batsman's statement as a 'lame' and 'flimsy' excuse. Finch had earlier said, "Education is more important than the protest." "We are really proud to play a game where it is celebrated all around the world and anyone can play it," Finch said. "It doesn't matter what race, what religion, what nationality you are from. Cricket is a game for everyone and I am really proud about that," he added.
Speaking in a video for his YouTube channel, Michael Holding said, "Education is important but you can't just do nothing else. You have to keep the awareness going," he said. "Someone sees a person kneeling and they ask why. It keeps it going and going. The England football team have continued to do it. All over the world people are doing it. So why have the cricket team stopped? I can't accept any flimsy excuse," he added.
"I think people need to keep on recognising that things need to change. You can't just do something for a week or two and think. 'OK, I've done my bit', if that's your attitude don't bother doing it at all," the West Indies great further said.
Reacting to Holding's criticism, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it remains committed to a philosophy of "long-term and sustainable change" in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Our response to the Black Lives Matter debate, has been to view the issue alongside the whole inclusion and diversity space," said the ECB in a statement. "England's men's and women's players all remain committed to using their reach and influence to keep promoting inclusion and diversity in perpetuity, for the betterment of cricket and sport. We understand the importance of symbolism, and its power to keep an issue high on the agenda, our goal is to ensure we deliver both reach and change," they added.
Earlier, England and West Indies players took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before the start of play in the first test at Southampton in July. The movement began after the killing of George Floyd in the United States in May.