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Michael Holding criticises England and Australia for opting not to take a knee
Racism in Cricket

Michael Holding criticises England and Australia for opting not to take a knee

Fast bowling great Michael Holding has lashed out at England and Australia for not taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the white-ball encounters between the two sides.

The global campaign against racial injustice has gained intensity in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, who was a victim of police brutality in the USA earlier this year.

As part of the series of protests launched in the aftermath of his demise, athletes have taken to kneeling down in support of the fight against racial discrimination.

England and West Indies cricketers thus took a knee before the start of each of their three Tests this summer, which marked the return of international cricket following the coronavirus-induced hiatus.

This practice was also adopted in the ODI series involving Ireland and England but the hosts have since abandoned the ritual in the subsequent series against Pakistan and Australia.

Holding was clearly unimpressed with this development and voiced his sentiments in a video uploaded on his YouTube channel.

"I'm a little bit disappointed that since the England-Ireland series, when they did take a knee, I haven't seen any of the teams take a knee," he said.

"Now that the West Indies team has gone home, that doesn't mean that you still shouldn't be respecting the message and exactly what it stands for."

The former paceman had earlier grabbed the headlines with his impassioned speech before the beginning of the West Indies-England series where he recalled ugly incidents of casual racism as a young cricketer while visiting foreign nations.

He has accused the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Australia skipper Aaron Finch of employing a lax attitude when dealing with such a delicate issue of racism.

Holding opined that both Finch and ECB were guilty of making "lame" statements over discontinuing the symbolic gesture of taking a knee.

"So for Pakistan and England not to then take that signal -- because you are not doing anything other than going down on one knee -- you are not chanting anything, you are not saying anything, all you are doing is making a signal to keep the awareness going," Holding said.

"Neither team did it and the ECB came out with a pretty lame statement, as far as I am concerned."

The ECB responded to Holding's scathing remarks by reminding the public of their commitment to eradicating systemic racism and incorporating policies that value diversity.

"Our refreshed inclusion and diversity strategy, published at the start of the West Indies series, commits to several comprehensive initiatives that focus on eliminating discrimination from all areas of cricket," the board said.

"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."