James Anderson expects England players to discuss showing solidarity with West Indies and the Black Lives Matter movement during their forthcoming Test series and called on cricket to do more to encourage inclusivity.

The Windies arrived in Manchester this week ahead of three Tests next month, which will take place behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.

Discussing his team doing their part to support protests that have swept the globe in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in police custody, West Indies captain Jason Holder stated that the tourists could take a knee.

"Protesting and standing up for what you believe in is noble and courageous, and something I would never disapprove of." Holder said.

Anderson is certainly of similar mind and conceded English cricket must do more to serve the BAME community after his former international team-mate Michael Carberry told ESPNCricinfo: "Cricket is rife with racism. Black people are not important to the structure of English cricket."

England's leading Test wicket-taker Anderson said: "I think it's been a thought-provoking few weeks for everyone. It's made me do a lot of thinking.

"We definitely will have conversations as players about what we can do to make a stand. It's something that as players and a game we need to be more active with.

"It's made me think about whether I've experienced racism on the cricket field. I couldn't think of any instances. I wasn't there when Jofra Archer was abused in New Zealand [in 2019].

"It also made me think, have I just turned a blind eye to things? I'll try and support my team-mates if they do suffer any abuse but have I been active in supporting them?

"The game in general as well - I saw the stat that there's one black player that's come through the state school system in county cricket. That's not okay. We need to actively make this game for everyone.

"It can't keep going the way it is. That's what I've been thinking about and is there more that I can do to help as a player."

England captain Joe Root could miss some of the upcoming series, with his wife Carrie due to give birth to their second child at the start of July.

Ben Stokes is in line to step up as vice-captain and Anderson does not believe the superstar all-rounder would be compromised by the extra responsibility.

"Ben's been the vice-captain for a while now," the veteran seamer said.

"He's grown and grown with that responsibility. In the dressing room he's really got a presence He's got the respect of the team.

"The natural thing to do is for the vice-captain to step up if the captain's unavailable. I'd fully expect him to do a great job."

The main challenge heading into the West Indies series for Anderson, as a master of seam and swing, could be new regulations that prohibit bowlers from applying saliva to the ball in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 37-year-old is stepping up his preparations by bowling at England and Lancashire colleague Keaton Jennings and acknowledges breaking the habit of a lifetime is tricky, although he still expects most of the usual assistance pace bowlers enjoy in English conditions.

"It's going to be unusual," he added. "For me it's a natural habit to put saliva on the ball so it's been interesting trying to stop yourself doing that.

"Fortunately in Manchester we get quite a lot of rain, so I've been able to shine the ball on the grass.

"As far as I'm aware we can use sweat, so that's something and it'll be enough to polish the ball for it to do something through the air.

"I don't think it's going to be a huge deal for players. We'll manage to prepare the ball well enough for it to swing."

James Anderson has thanked West Indies for taking the "scary decision" to play a Test series in England.

Like much of the global sporting calendar, the English cricket season has been ravaged by the coronavirus crisis, with no competitive action able to take place so far.

England will play West Indies in three matches behind closed doors next month, with the tourists based at Old Trafford.

The Manchester ground will host the second and third games as a bio-secure venue, after the Ageas Bowl in Southampton stages the opener.

It is hoped a Test series against Pakistan can take place in August, with the possibility of limited-overs engagements against the same opponents, Australia and Ireland on the schedule.

The United Kingdom has suffered more COVID-19 deaths than any other country in Europe, while the Caribbean has been minimally impacted by the virus compared to other parts of the world.

Anderson is not treating West Indies' opting to help get the international game back up and running lightly.

"From our point of view we're certainly very grateful that the West Indies are coming over here," he said.

"Obviously, with what's going on in the world, I imagine it's a scary decision for a lot of them, for all of them to make the journey over so we're hugely grateful.

"It's great for the game. It's brilliant that we are closing in on getting some Test cricket played after a decent lay-off."

Anderson, England's all-time Test wicket-taker with 584 victims, has managed to be creative in order to maintain his fitness during lockdown and in training with Lancashire.

The 37-year-old suffered injury setbacks when facing Australia and South Africa and feels Joe Root might look to rotate his battery of seam bowlers on home soil.

"Training has been going well," he said. "I've managed to tick over quite well during lockdown.

"I've luckily got enough space to fit half of my run-up in on my drive, so I've been ticking over with my bowling. When I came back to training with Lancashire I've not been going in cold.

"I felt like I hit the ground running pretty well. I've been enjoying being back."

Anderson added: "Obviously there are concerns about the fact we are not going to have had any competitive cricket before that first Test match and then we've got three Test matches in quick succession.

"So there are obviously things that we need to look at ahead of that in terms of workloads and whether we play all three as bowlers or whether we rotate.

"I'm sure the medical staff and the coaches are doing their due diligence on that; that's something we'll have to look at in a few weeks' time.

"But at the moment I'm enjoying myself, I'm enjoying being back and feeling really good."

Jason Holder says he will consult his West Indies team-mates regarding the possibility of making a "show of solidarity" in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Test series against England.

Elite athletes have spoken out against racism in society following the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Several teams in the Bundesliga, which was the first major European football league to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic, have also taken part in demonstrations.

Windies captain Holder was asked if similar actions will be taken by his team for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl, which will be played without fans in attendance, on July 8.

"It definitely - probably - will be discussed among us and we'll definitely decide how we'll go forward as a team with it," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"I just want to make sure whatever we do, if we do anything, that it is done the right way. Whatever point we make, if we do decide to show some sort of solidarity with it, we'll make sure everyone is on the same page.

"But I don't want to sit here and speak for the other members of the team without consulting them."

On the protests that have taken place, Holder added: "It [racism] is something that will probably be an ongoing discussion, probably way past our lifetimes. I think the greater message that could be taken for this entire experience is unity.

"Regardless of your race or religion, I think this is a situation for us all to unite as one.

"What has happened recently has definitely impacted the world, and the response from people around the world has been tremendous.

"We must acknowledge it. Protesting, and standing up for what you believe in, is noble and courageous - and something I would never disapprove of.

"I think it's a perfect time for people to really educate themselves on what goes on in the day-to-day experiences of people around the world, and make a change.

"Only when you educate yourself, can you have a better sense of what goes on around you.

"We must all come together; it's an ongoing debate, but equality and unity is my main takeaway from this."

The Windies arrived in Manchester on Tuesday as they gear up for the return of Test cricket, which has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Three players, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Darren Bravo, opted not to travel, but Holder says those who have feel "pretty safe".

"To be honest, I feel pretty safe. I must commend the ECB, they've been outstanding," he said.

"We had a chartered airline and arriving here in Manchester was pretty smooth. We just transferred directly from the plane through the VIP hall and then straight onto the buses directly to the hotel. We've had no real experience with anyone from the public.

"Everything so far has been rolled out perfectly and whilst it continues that way, I can't see much interference coming with regards to the series.

"Before coming here to England, we all knew what was being posed. We've all made a decision to come over here, not been forced, and we've done it because we want to be here, we want to play cricket.

"Personally, I'm happy to be playing some cricket, not many other nations are. Many organisations are taking pay cuts and we have suddenly got our opportunity now to make some money, so we have a lot of things to be thankful for and I think we just have to relish the opportunity and grab it with both hands."

The ICC has delayed a decision over the respective fates of the men's T20 World Cup and women's Cricket World Cup in order to continue exploring contingency plans over the next month.

Australia is due to host the men's T20 competition between October 18 and November 15 but the status of the tournament remains unclear due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while the women's 50-over event is slated to take place in New Zealand from February 6 to March 7 next year.

Last month, the ICC denied reports a decision had been taken to move the T20 World Cup back to next year, although Cricket Australia said it was braced for the postponement.

Following an ICC Board meeting on Wednesday, the governing body said it will "continue to assess and evaluate the rapidly changing public health situation caused by COVID-19 working with key stakeholders including governments to explore how the events can be staged to protect the health and safety of everyone involved."

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: "The situation surrounding the global pandemic is evolving rapidly and we want to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to make the right decision for the whole sport. 

"The health and well-being of everyone involved is our priority and other considerations fall out from that.

"We will only get one chance to make this decision and it needs to be the right one and as such we will continue to consult with our Members, broadcasters, partners, governments and players and to ensure that we make a well informed decision."

Pakistan have appointed Younis Khan as their batting coach for the tour of England.

Younis, Pakistan's most successful Test batsman, made his final appearance for his country back in 2017.

He will now help Pakistan in a coaching capacity as head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and his players gear up for a scheduled tour that comprises three Tests and three Twenty 20 Internationals from August to September.

The coronavirus pandemic had brought the cricket calendar to a halt but, with West Indies arriving in England for a behind-closed-doors Test series, Pakistan are making preparations for their tour.

In addition to appointing Younis, they have also named Mushtaq Ahmed as their spin-bowling coach. He has previously served in the same capacity for England.

Younis said: "For me, there has never been a bigger honour and a better feeling than to represent my country and I feel privileged to have been again offered the opportunity to serve it for a challenging but exciting tour of England.

"The Pakistan side includes some immensely talented cricketers who have the potential to achieve greater heights. Together with Misbah-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed and [fast-bowling coach] Waqar Younis, we will try to make them better and prepare them as best as we can with on and off-field coaching and guidance.

"We all know English conditions demand not only precise technique but patience and discipline, and if you can master these, then you will not only excel in England but anywhere in the world. With the quality we have in the team, I think we have a good chance to produce good results if we prepare properly, get our processes right and hit the ground running as soon as we land."

Misbah added: "When I took over the captaincy during a difficult period in 2010, Younis proved to be a great ally and support, and I am confident he will provide similar assistance as we head to England with a clear objective of putting Pakistan cricket back on the road to success.

"Mushtaq Ahmed is loaded with the experience of helping elite cricketers from different countries and is widely regarded as a mentor. Mushtaq is always involved in the game and this attitude will further help us in our pre-series preparations and enhance our prospects in the series.

"Due to events beyond human control, the series in England will be one of the most challenging and difficult and, as such, we need to have the best talent and brains on our side. Younis as well as Mushtaq clearly tick all these and additional boxes, which will assist us in achieving our targets."

Because of the challenge of keeping players in a safe and secure environment, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has elected not to hold a national team training camp prior to their departure for England.

The PCB has asked the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to bring forward that departure date to allow Pakistan extra practice time.

Jason Holder welcomed "a huge step forward" for cricket and sport as West Indies embarked on a trip to England for their three-match Test series.

The Windies have arrived in Manchester ahead of the planned behind-closed-doors Test series, which will start in Southampton on July 8.

They are the first international sports team to visit the United Kingdom since lockdown began in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

West Indies' 39 members of their touring group, which includes 25 players, tested negative for COVID-19 prior to their charter flight from Antigua and are now poised to be tested again.

They will enter quarantine at Old Trafford, which will host the second and third Test matches and serve as their base to prepare for the opening encounter.

Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo and Keemo Paul opted to withdraw from the touring party because of the pandemic.

But West Indies captain Holder was in a positive mood and aware of the significance of the trip.

"This is a huge step forward in cricket and in sports in general," Holder said, speaking before the team landed in England.

"A lot has gone into the preparations for what will be a new phase in the game.

"I’m happy for the support and well-wishes we have been receiving from our loyal and dedicated fans once it was confirmed the tour would go ahead. This has been a source of great inspiration.

"We have a fantastic group of cricketers, coaches, medical staff and support staff and I know everyone is eagerly looking forward to the start of the first match."

West Indies beat England 2-1 in the Caribbean last year but have not won a series in England since 1988.

Holder said: "There is expectation in the air that we will defend the Wisden Trophy and we will certainly put in the work and give it our all to keep hold of it."

Assistant coach Roddy Estwick was also optimistic about the team's chances if they can contain the England bowling attack.

"Three years ago, it was a very, very young unit," Estwick said of the team who lost the 2017 series 2-1 in England. "Now we've got seasoned Test players, we've got players with 50 Test matches.

"So I think once we can hit the ground running and get the preparation in, get some match practice under our belts, we can be a lot better.

"We've got youngsters coming through. If we can get scores on the board we can really challenge England because I know the bowling will be good."

West Indies have arrived in Manchester ahead of the planned behind-closed-doors Test series with England.

World cricket chiefs have approved a ban on using saliva to polish the ball and backed the introduction of coronavirus substitutes.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) gave its approval amid a raft of interim changes to regulations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting sport.

Rules on kit sponsorship have also been relaxed for 12 months, allowing teams to bring in extra revenue through placing a logo on the chest of their Test shirt and sweater.

There has been no international cricket since March due to the health crisis and the global governing body is keen to mitigate risks posed by the virus, protecting the safety of players and match officials.

Bowlers traditionally apply saliva to the ball to make it swing, but they will have to rely on sweat when the sport returns, with the use of any artificial substance already outlawed.

The saliva ban was passed despite a number of players, including former Australia captain Steve Smith, suggesting it would give batsmen an advantage.

Repeatedly breaching the new rule could result in teams receiving a five-run penalty.

An ICC statement read: "Players will not be permitted to use saliva to shine the ball. If a player does apply saliva to the ball, the umpires will manage the situation with some leniency during an initial period of adjustment for the players, but subsequent instances will result in the team receiving a warning.

"A team can be issued up to two warnings per innings but repeated use of saliva on the ball will result in a five-run penalty to the batting side.

"Whenever saliva is applied to the ball, the umpires will be instructed to clean the ball before play recommences."

Among the other changes will be the introduction of coronavirus replacements for Tests, but not Twenty20 internationals or ODIs.

If a player displays symptoms of COVID-19 during a Test series, teams will be allowed to replace them with "the nearest like-for-like replacement".

The ICC has also removed the requirement for a neutral umpire in all formats, due to restrictions on international travel.

With this perhaps leading to the use of officials with less international experience, an additional unsuccessful DRS review will be granted.

"This will increase the number of unsuccessful appeals per innings for each team to three for Tests and two for the white-ball formats," said the ICC.

"The ICC cricket operations team will support match referees when processing code of conduct breaches, and a neutral elite panel match referee will conduct any hearing remotely via video link."

Former England Test captain Kevin Pietersen does not want to see Ben Stokes made skipper should Joe Root miss a game against West Indies next month.

England are set to return to action with three behind-closed-doors Tests against the Windies at the Rose Bowl and Old Trafford.

However, current five-day captain Root may be missing for one of those fixtures as his wife, Carrie, is due to give birth, with the batsman conceding he would leave the bio-secure areas in Southampton and Manchester to attend the birth.

Root has not missed a Test since being named captain in 2017 but has backed current vice-captain Stokes to step up should he not be available.

However, Pietersen has advised against having all-rounder Stokes fill the void given his own brief experience of a role he had for only three Tests.

"Do I want to see Ben Stokes change from who he is and the current player he is? Probably not, Jos Buttler would be my guy," Pietersen, who resigned as England captain in 2009, told talkSPORT.

"The entertainers and the guys that have to carry the mantle in the team sometimes aren't the best captains and sometimes struggle with the extra added pressure.

"As a player you are looked at completely differently until that phone call comes and you are announced as the Test captain.

"Responsibilities change, communication changes, the way in which you carry yourself in the dressing room changes.

"I struggled with it, I absolutely hated it and I was rubbish. You have to change and I couldn't command the respect of the dressing room. You say something and it is frowned upon, it is a completely different story."

Shane Warne made an indelible mark on the Ashes on this day in 1993.

Joe Root could miss the first Test of the scheduled behind-closed-doors series between England and West Indies with his second child due to arrive next month.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Tuesday, that subject to government approval, England will contest three matches with the Windies at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.

Root's men were set to face the Windies in a three-Test series beginning on Thursday with matches at The Oval, Edgbaston and Lord's but that was not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The England captain may be absent for the first Test of the re-arranged series at the Ageas Bowl, starting on July 8, with the ECB exploring ways for him to leave the bio-secure bubble that will see players isolated from the general public.

Root said: "The start of July is the due date, so that complicates things slightly. 

"In terms of the bubble, and the pregnancy, it's being discussed with the medical team. At the minute, it's still open for discussion, how that will finally look, I'm not exactly sure. It will have to come down to government advice."

Root confirmed he would be at the birth even if it required him missing the first Test and said of prospective deputy Ben Stokes: "I think if Ben was captain he would be fantastic.

"One of his great qualities as a leader is he sets the example. He drags people with him and gets the best out of the players around him.

"He'll have people wanting to play for him and short-term he'd be a huge success."

England are set to face West Indies in three Tests in as many weeks in a behind-closed-doors series at Old Trafford and the Ageas Bowl, subject to government clearance.

The Windies were due to face England in matches at The Oval, Edgbaston and Lord's in a series beginning on June 4.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has decimated a cricket calendar in which England are also set to face Australia, Pakistan and Ireland.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Tuesday that a three-Test series without spectators is scheduled to start on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl.

Old Trafford will host the second and third Tests.

The venues have been selected from a group of four that submitted an interest, having had to demonstrate to the ECB board an ability to meet criteria surrounding biosecurity, medical screening-testing provision, footprint to enable social distancing and venue-cricket operations.

Edgbaston was picked as a contingency venue and will be utilised for additional training throughout July.

The Windies are due to arrive in England on June 9 and will use Old Trafford as their base for training and quarantining before travelling to the Ageas Bowl.

ECB director of events Steve Elworthy said: "Our main objective is to deliver a safe environment for all stakeholders including players, match officials, operational staff, essential venue staff, broadcasters and media.

"We are in daily dialogue with government and our medical team, who have been incredibly supportive during this period. These are our proposed dates and they remain subject to UK Government approval.

"We would like to thank Cricket West Indies for their co-operation and dedication in making this tour a reality, and we all look forward to the prospect of cricket returning in the coming weeks."

A decision on the scheduled series with Australia, Pakistan and Ireland will be made at a later date.

A 13-man Sri Lanka squad will start a 12-day residential training camp in Colombo on Monday.

The players and four members of the coaching team and support staff will be based at the Colombo Cricket Club for just under a fortnight.

They will stay in a hotel throughout the camp and have strict health regulations to adhere on their return after a lockdown was imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The players called up were not named, but Cricket Sri Lanka stated they were primarily bowlers and the squad covers all formats.

They will undergo conditioning work after a lengthy spell without playing early in the Mickey Arthur era.

Sri Lanka are awaiting confirmation over whether they will host India and Bangladesh in June or July when they get the green light to play again.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has agreed to the Test tour of England "in principle", with players and staff to remain "in a bio-secure environment" for the duration of the series.

The Windies had originally been due to face England in three Tests, at The Oval, Edgbaston and Lord's, but that series – originally slated to begin next week – was postponed in April amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, CWI and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have been in discussions about the tour taking place in July at Old Trafford and the Rose Bowl, which have hotels attached to the stadiums.

That would ensure the travelling party can remain at the same location where Tests would be played behind closed doors.

A statement from CWI said: "CWI's management is now in the process of seeking to put all of the approvals and logistics in place within the Caribbean, including seeking permission from the various national governments to facilitate the movement of players and support staff, using private charter planes and conducting medical screenings and individual COVID-19 testing for all members of the touring party."

It has been proposed that the West Indies squad would fly to England in the week beginning June 8, a full month before the opening Test.

On Friday, England named a 55-man squad which will commence group training sessions, subject to government approval.

Grant Flower expects Pakistan run machine Babar Azam to "break a lot of records" but fears there is a danger he could regret taking over as captain.

Babar is the top-ranked Twenty20 international batsman in the world and has established himself as one of the best players on the planet in all formats.

The 25-year-old was named T20I skipper last October and also took the ODI captaincy this month.

Flower recognised the elegant right-hander was a special talent when he first started working with him as Pakistan batting coach and believes he is destined for greatness.

He told Stats Perform News: "Babar is brilliant.

"The first time I saw him play and first time I worked with him - when I threw balls at him at the academy in Lahore - he picked up length so much quicker than the rest of the players and I think that's the hallmark of a great batsman.

"If you look at some of the best players in the world like Steve Smith, Virat Kohli et cetera, they pick up length really quickly and play the ball late, have a great eye and hand-eye coordination. He has that and I think he is going to break a lot of records.

"Even in T20 cricket he plays normal cricket shots and that is also the sign of a great player. As long as he stays humble, which I'm sure he will as he's a good bloke, there is no reason why he can't be one of the best and he already pretty much is."

Sri Lanka batting coach Flower hopes Babar thrives as a leader but fears his form could suffer due to the extra pressure on his shoulders.

The former Zimbabwe all-rounder said: "He's got a good cricketing brain but there's a lot of politics in Pakistan cricket and a lot of pressure from the public.

"If you start losing, it's one thing being the best batsman but that will put pressure on your batting skills and it can all come tumbling down pretty quickly.

"We've seen with great players in the past the pressures that captaincy can bring, but some players get better and if he gets better then the world is his oyster. Time will tell.

"But he seems pretty positive about it, I read what he said in an interview when he got the captaincy. I wish him all the best and hopefully all positives come with that."

 

- Grant Flower was speaking on behalf of The Conservation Games, a first-of-its-kind initiative from the Zambesia Conservation Alliance. To watch Grant in action, visit and subscribe to the Conservation Games channel on YouTube.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.