Australian cricket’s most vocal supporter of social justice, Dan Christian, will make his return to the international arena on Saturday in a game where the national men’s team will take a stand against racism.
It was unclear on Friday if Aaron Finch’s men would become the country’s first senior national cricket team to take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement but the side has pledged to stand united with the West Indies against racial inequality.
Dan Christian has been recalled to the Australia team for his first international in nearly four years.Credit:Getty
Players from New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and South Africa have made the gesture in support in games against the Windies. South African players were also given the choice of raising fists.
Finch met with Windies skipper Kieron Pollard on Thursday (Windies time) to discuss how the touring team can best honour the cause.
Many of Australia’s players have taken a knee while representing their respective Big Bash League clubs but have not done so in the green and gold.
Langer said he wanted cricket to be used as a means to promote awareness of global social injustice.
“We will stand united with West Indies as India did with us during the summer being part of the barefoot circle, which is really important now in Aboriginal culture and coming into our culture with the cricket team,” Langer said.
“We’ll stand united with West Indian cricket as a sign of respect for them and use cricket as a platform to deal with this stain of racism and social injustice around the world.”
The Australians were strongly criticised by Windies great Michael Holding last year for not taking a knee during the one-day international and Twenty20 series against England.
Holding doubled down last month in an interview with this masthead, saying players should take a knee “any and everywhere” and not just because it would be “politically correct” to do so in the Caribbean.
Sources with knowledge of the matter say they believe Australia’s players now have a better understanding of the issue than 12 months ago.
Christian, an Indigenous man, is aware of the significance taking a knee is for cricketers in the Caribbean, having listened to Windies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite discuss the topic while teammates with the Sydney Sixers last season.
Dan Christian and Carlos Brathwaite playing for the Sixers in January this year.Credit:Getty
Christian took aim at Prime Minister Scott Morrison in January, telling the leader to “read the room” after his criticism of Cricket Australia’s decision to drop references to “Australia Day” for matches played on January 26.
Langer has confirmed Christian will be in the Australia XI for the opening T20 against the Windies in St Lucia.
The 38-year-old all-rounder last played for his country in October, 2017, but has since retired from first-class cricket and become one of the most successful T20 specialists in the world, winning nine trophies in leagues in Australia, South Africa, England and the Caribbean.
“It’s almost becoming urban myth, isn’t it? you know wherever he plays, we win – so yeah, it’s great to have him in the team,” Langer said.
“He’s so excited, he’s probably a bit nervous tonight – so excited about playing for Australia again – and I just love seeing that, love seeing that energy.”
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