England's South African-born opener Jason Roy claims taking the knee before games for the world champions is an "integral part of the way we play our cricket".
Roy, speaking after striking a match-winning half-century in England's eight-wicket defeat of Bangladesh here at the ICC T20 World Cup, believes the global symbol of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement opposing racism and equality has become an entrenched part of the England's team culture.
England, along with the West Indies, were the first teams to take a knee after international cricket post the pandemic hiatus before reverting to an array of anti-discrimination slogans, which was heavily criticized by former Windies fast bowler Michael Holding, but have now gone back to taking the knee at this T20 World Cup.
"It is an integral part of the way we play our cricket. Our team is extremely diverse with people from all over the world. It's only right that we support that and we support what they are going through," said Roy, who was born in Durban.
The global cricket landscape has been shaken up since South African opener Quinton de Kock's withdrawal from the Proteas second Group 1 match against the West Indies after Cricket SA's board issued a directive on the morning of the game that all players take a knee as part of a “consistent stance” against racism. The mandate has been set for all the Proteas remaining T20 World Cup matches, thereby placing De Kock's future partipation at this tournament here in the UAE in doubt.
But while the Proteas have struggled to formulate a unified stance on tackling anti-racism within their environment, England captain Eoin Morgan had echoed Roy's sentiments prior to the tournament.
"We’ll join the West Indies in taking a knee to show our support in the fight against racism,” Morgan said ahead England's opening game already.
“The second part of it is we’ve always felt that we need something that within our squad and our side that we feel a part of making a change, both locally and nationally and potentially globally.
"Our moment of unity we have had at home for quite a period of time has been our piece of cultural development, education, raising awareness within that space, as well, and it's worked for us, and it's progressing nicely and guys are engaged and want to do more.
“Unfortunately during this tournament, we're not able to do that. If we could do that every game, we would. But yeah, we're more than happy to take a knee.”
The Irish-born Morgan has previously stated the diversity within England's cricket team that consists of players from Asian, Caribbean, African, Australasian and Anglo-Saxon backgrounds is regarded as one of team's primary strengths, most notably after the tense 50-overs World Cup vicory in 2019 at Lord's when he said "Allah was definitely with us."