The South African cricket team on Saturday showed support for the Black Live Matter movement by raising their fists before the start of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Centurion.
The players lined up near the pitch and raised their hands while standing to show solidarity in the fight against racism.
The Proteas have been one of the few cricket teams who have been actively supporting the BLM movement ever since the wave started after the George Floyd killing in USA in May.
South Africa had decided to make a “meaningful” anti-racism gesture even before the start of the series after giving it a miss in the T20I series against England last month.
“We as the Proteas team have, on multiple occasions, declared our unmistakable support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign. We have openly discussed the topic on numerous occasions with the media and amongst each other and we are committed to continuing to do this work together.
“We continue to own our journey and our previously stated stance on this issue (Players’ Statement and press release dated 25 November). We recognize that our actions will most likely result in criticism from some community, one way or another, but work to prioritise the team, to be honest about our own learning journey and to continue to make decisions that we can own in good conscience as a team, first and foremost, and as individuals.
“To this end, we have taken the decision through a process of deep democracy to raise our fists at the beginning of the Betway Test series against Sri Lanka as a gesture to express our ongoing commitments. We recognise that gestures have histories and contexts, which carry meaning beyond themselves (both positive and negative) and that these gestures may be open to misinterpretation. Symbols also serve the purpose of communicating shared values and meaning,” Cricket South Africa said in a statement.
PROTEAS FULL STATEMENT
“The raised fist is a powerful gesture in our own history, as expressed in the iconic images of Nelson and Winnie Mandela on Mandela’s release from prison in 1990.”
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) December 26, 2020
SL WIN TOSS AND OPT TO BAT
Sri Lanka won the toss on Saturday and opted to bat first at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. Sri Lanka had made history on its last tour to South Africa last year when it became the first Asian team to win a Test series in the rainbow nation.
This is the first Test in South Africa in nearly a year and will put the country’s COVID-19 protocols on trial again after a one-day series against England was called off this month because of an outbreak of virus cases in the teams’ hotel.