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Cricket’s stirring stand for Black Lives Matter is only the beginning

But what happened during a rain delay had an even bigger impact on me and, I am certain, on anyone else watching the Sky Sports coverage. Michael Holding and Ebony Rainsford-Brent bravely and rawly shared their experiences of racism growing up and within cricket.

West Indies' captain Jasion Holder, centre, and teammates take a knee before the start of the Test match between England and West Indies at Southampton.

West Indies’ captain Jasion Holder, centre, and teammates take a knee before the start of the Test match between England and West Indies at Southampton.Credit:AFP

I have a personal connection with both, having met Michael a number of times while commentating in England. He has been extremely welcoming and generous with his time. Ebony, whom I played against, has become a colleague and a friend. As I listened intently to their experiences, I was in tears. What these two people had endured was hard to listen to. Given what a wonderful and kind soul Ebony is, I was deeply moved by her words.

Since May 25, I have been asked a number of times whether I have endured hardship because of my colour. There have been some instances, but I fobbed them off and got on with things. To an extent I would joke along and make comments about being the “token”, but that was to try to fit in and mask my discomfort.

While my experiences of racism are few and far between – thank goodness – I have witnessed family members subjected to racist stereotyping in everyday life and watched the terrible and long-lasting impact this can have on a person’s confidence and self worth. What my sister had to go through during school and even now because of her darker skin colour is something that I will never know, but that doesn’t mean I turn a blind eye.

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In the coming weeks and months, it will be Australia’s turn, through the vehicle of sport to show our solidarity with BLM via the Indigenous rounds in both the AFL and NRL, plus, when the summer rolls around, cricket. I hope those within each code understand the role that they need to play to keep the conversation going.

Even more importantly, we, as individuals, whether we are affected personally or not, have a bigger role to play. As Mpumelelo Mbangwa, the former Zimbabwean cricketer and now commentator, tweeted: “When someone gives their truths and tells stories of his/her experiences, from their perspective, the best thing is to listen. It’s their story, not yours.”

Yes, we need to listen, yes, we need to learn, though the biggest change we can make is to call out casual racism, call out bullying and stand up for those from our minority communities. This is only the beginning.

Lisa Sthalekar was a long-serving member of the Australian women’s cricket team and is now a coach and commentator.

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