Gabriel, Estwick delighted with BLM gesture

Gabriel, Estwick delighted with BLM gesture

Thursday, July 09, 2020

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SOUTHAMPTON, England (CMC) — Both Shannon Gabriel and Roddy Estwick yesterday expressed delight with the show of support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by both teams prior to the start of the opening Test at the Ageas Bowl.

West Indies and England both took a knee and raised clenched fists reminiscent of the actions of Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium during the 1968 Olympics.

“It's a great moment that people will recall for a long time, with two teams coming together to show the world that racism has no part in cricket,” said fast bowler Gabriel.

Estwick, the Windies assistant coach, said the show of unity had been important, especially with equality under the microscope.

“We wanted to make a statement, and we wanted to be different from everybody else. That was our way of showing our support to the Black Lives Matter campaign,” he said.

“For me it was a good feeling because we have to make a change. For us it's all about equality. It's all about honesty, it's all about treating everybody equally.

“I thought it was really wonderful to see England supporting us as well in the whole thing. And obviously it came off very, very well.”

On the field, Gabriel marked his return to international cricket with a wicket from just his fourth ball, serving a timely reminder of his ability to bowl at full pace following a recovery from injury.

The 32-year-old, who underwent ankle surgery last December, consistently clocked close to 90 miles per hour and produced a “jaffer” to clean-bowl an uncertain Dom Sibley and leave England one wicket down for no runs in the second over.

Operating over the wicket to the right-hander, Gabriel got the previous delivery to shape away but got the wicket-taking delivery to shape back, delivering from the same place on the crease.

Deceived, Sibley shouldered arms and watched in dismay as the ball cannoned into the top of off stump. For Gabriel, it was the third time in his career he had dismissed a batsman offering no stroke.

“It was a good feeling to get back out there after such a long layoff. Fortunately, I was able to get a wicket in my first over, which gave me some confidence,” Gabriel said.

“On the conditions being favourable, it's different and sometimes more difficult in terms of preparing your body, but I do think it helps out the fast bowlers quite a bit.”

Estwick added: “Shannon is a very experienced member of the bowling group. Obviously he was injured just before the series, he had the operation so it was a matter of Shannon proving his fitness.

“Once Shannon proved his fitness, he obviously was going to be included in the squad. I was happy to see him back out on the park and getting his first wicket.”

England finished the day on 35 for one after choosing to bat, with rain allowing only 82 minutes of play.

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