Mumbai Indians allrounder Hardik Pandya became the first player to take a knee at the IPL – in Sunday’s game against the Rajasthan Royals – in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Pandya, who made a 21-ball 60, went down on a knee with his right arm raised after reaching his half-century off the penultimate ball of the innings. He signalled towards the Mumbai Indians dugout to which stand-in captain Kieron Pollard responded with a raised right fist.
Pandya later posted a picture of his gesture on his Twitter and Instagram accounts with the caption, “BlackLivesMatter”.
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) October 25, 2020
Cricket joined hands with the BLM for the first time when both England and the West Indies teams, along with the match officials, took a knee earlier this summer. Many players started talking about racism in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in the USA in March earlier this year and, after Daren Sammy opened up about possible references to the colour of skin during his IPL stints in 2013 and 2014, the movement picked up momentum during the CPL in the Caribbean as all teams took a knee before the first three games of the tournament.
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More recently, Jason Holder, who is playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, said to the Cricket Writers Club that he had not seen any discussion about BLM in the IPL which he found “sad.”
The latest tournament to officially see a team take the knee is the WBBL in Australia where the Sydney Thunder decided to show the gesture throughout the tournament. On Sunday, the opening day of the WBBL, the Adelaide Strikers and the Hobart Hurricanes took the knee and the Thunder would have done the same had their match against the Sydney Sixers not been washed out.