Australia coach responds to Michael Holding's Black Lives Matter criticism

Justin Langer has admitted Australia should have committed more time to learn about the Black Lives Matter movement before opting not to take a knee during their ongoing series against England.

Australia chose not to follow the example of England and West Indies in taking a knee prior to their first game since the movement gained much momentum following the killing of George Floyd.

Explaining their decision, captain Aaron Finch said ‘education is more important than the protest’, but cricket legend Michael Holding slammed Australia and said their statement was ‘lame’ and ‘weak’.

Responding to the Windies legend, Langer said: ‘In terms of the taking a knee, to be completely honest we could’ve talked more about it perhaps leading up to that first game.

‘There was so much going on leading up to us getting here, maybe we should’ve thought and talked a bit more about it.

‘What we do talk about in the team is we want to have a response that is sustained and powerful and it can go, not just in one action, but sustained periods, not just throughout this series, throughout our summer, but throughout time.

‘We’re looking at ways, I know there’s a lot of talk going on within our group about how we can, I know there’s a lot of talking going on about the Australian women’s team as well, about how we can have a sustained and powerful response to Black Lives Matter.

‘It’s incredibly important, and I just hope and certainly from Mikey’s point of view I hope if it looked like there was a lack of respect there, that certainly wasn’t the intention of our team.

‘We’re very aware of it, and when Mikey says what he says, then it’s certainly worth listening to and we’ll be doing that.’

Holding has been a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter and broke down earlier in the summer when discussing the issue on Sky Sports.

Discussing Australia’s decision not to take a knee, he said: ‘Now Australia come here and I see another lame statement from the Australia captain who is saying that he and the England captain have spoken and they decided not to take a knee.

‘I would hope that anyone who gets involved in something like this [does it] because they want to get involved.

‘So I would hope that people who are joining in, and are still willing to accept that things need to change and need to send a signal, will voluntarily do what they think is right.’

Former Australia batsman Langer, who was appointed as head coach following the ball-tampering scandal in 2018, added: ‘Michael Holding is one of the great people of world sport, and certainly our game.

‘He’s a person who I personally have great admiration, great respect, great love for, and we all watched his presentation, his heartfelt thoughts at the start of the summer.

‘When someone like Michael says something like that, it is certainly important we all listen to it.

‘It was a powerful statement by Mikey, as it has been consistently from him and from others throughout the summer, and because of that, it was a powerful message.’

Australia face England in the third and final one-day international at Old Trafford on Wednesday with the series poised at 1-1.

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