In the wake of criticism from Michael Holding, Justin Langer has stated that both Australia and England should have talked a bit more about taking a knee ahead of the series. Holding was miffed with Aaron Finch's statement that both teams took a collective decision about not taking the knee.
Ahead of the T20 series against England, which was Australia’s first international assignment in the pandemic world, Aaron Finch confirmed that Australia will not take the knee in a gesture of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, saying education around it is more important than the protest.
The Australian captain further stated that he discussed the matter as a team with England captain Eoin Morgan, saying, “really proud to play a game where it is celebrated all around the world and anyone can play it” and “doesn't matter what race, what religion, what nationality you are from” but that didn’t sit well with Caribbean great Michael Holding.
Holding had given one of the most inspiring and thought-provoking speeches on the matter ahead of England’s game against West Indies. While his recent statement has polarised opinions among cricketers from both sides, Justin Langer stated that they could perhaps have discussed it a bit more before deciding not to take the knee.
"In terms of taking a knee, 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," Langer said, reported Cricbuzz.
"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.
The Australian great, however, threw in his words of respect for Holding, calling his speech ahead of the English summer as one of the most powerful sporting messages which transcended the societal boundary. Langer stated that it is always worth listening to Holding and his views on the sport.
“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.
"Michael Holding is one of the great people of world sport, and certainly our game. He's a person who I personally have great admiration, great respect, great love for, and we all watched his presentation, his heartfelt thoughts at the start of the summer. When someone like Michael says something like that, it is certainly important we all listen to it.
"It was a powerful statement by Mikey, as it has been consistently from him and from others throughout the summer, and because of that, it was a powerful message."
The international men’s cricket summer in England will come to a close on Wednesday, with the IPL-bound players boarding a chartered flight to the UAE.