Joe Root declared he wants to keep the England Test captaincy but acknowledged the decision is not entirely in his hands after another series defeat.

Root believes team-mates remain firmly supportive of his leadership, despite a disappointing loss against West Indies.

Draws in Antigua and Barbados teed up a winner-takes-all decider in Grenada, but Root's tourists were always behind after falling to 90-8 on the first day.

Jack Leach and Saqib Mahmood proved unlikely heroes to drag England to 204 all out in the first innings, though a sorry bowling performance allowed West Indies, inspired by Joshua da Silva's maiden Test ton, to scramble to 297 - a lead of 93.

Further batting struggles saw the visitors skittled for just 120 second time around, leaving Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell to chase down a target of 28 in just 29 balls on Sunday, sealing a 10-wicket win.

"I've made it quite clear at the start of this game and throughout this tour that I'm very passionate about trying to take this team forward," Root said.

"I will control all that I can. I don't think it's ever in your hands completely. I feel like the group are very much behind me. We're doing a lot of really good things; we just need to turn that into results now."

England are without a win in five Test series, stretching back to a triumph over Sri Lanka at the start of last year. They are also without a win in their last nine Tests, losing six of those, which is their longest winless streak in the format since a run of 10 between August 2013 and July 2014.

Root told BT Sport he felt a sense of "frustration", adding: "Throughout this series we've played some really good cricket, and we've shown what we're capable of as a group.

"We've grown over the first two games as a batting group, and we've shown big strides in that department, and shown what we are capable of. Yesterday really let us down, it's really hurt us, and it's an important day within the series.

"We just didn't stand up to it well enough, and unfortunately you find us in this position where we've ended up losing the series after we played so much brilliant cricket."

The England skipper added: "I thought the attitude throughout the whole thing has been brilliant – in that respect we've definitely made big improvements. That has to continue.

"There are so many good things we can take away from this. Of course, we came here to win, and we've not, and that's frustrating, that's disappointing. But if we're going to keep learning and keep growing as a team, and if we're going to start winning, then we've got to keep that approach."

 

Interim head coach Paul Collingwood, who replaced Chris Silverwood in the wake of a 4-0 Ashes thrashing, said he had observed total support for Root among England's players.

He said: "The one thing you do notice in that dressing room is that the team is together, they're right behind Joe.

"You can see all the players, all the management, and you can see Joe himself, he's got the determination to still take this team forward and get results.

"The leadership doesn't affect his batting. He's still going out there and scoring the runs and he's still desperate to turn things around and desperate to make this team the best they can be."

Regarding his own uncertain future with England, as the search continues for a permanent coach, Collingwood added: "If I was to be given the job, or they decide they want to give me the job, then I would certainly take it. I've enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to."

England were facing a crushing defeat in the decisive third Test against West Indies as Joshua Da Silva and Kyle Mayers made day three thoroughly miserable for Joe Root and the tourists.

Da Silva reached a first Test century and Mayers took 5-9 in 13 overs in a career-best bowling performance, with West Indies capitalising on a first-innings lead of 93 runs by reducing England to 103-8 at stumps.

Leading by 10 runs with just two second-innings wickets standing, the last sliver of hope for England was that they converted 90-8 in their first innings to 204 all out, but this time around they looked floored.

The England tail must wag spectacularly on Sunday at the Grenada National Stadium for this to become a contest again, with signs pointing to West Indies landing the series win after the first two Tests ended in draws.

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan speculated this could prove to be Root's final match as captain, with the team, crushed in the Ashes before this series, looking increasingly rudderless.

West Indies had a strong morning as Da Silva went from 54 not out to finish unbeaten on 100, sharing in a 52-run partnership for the 10th wicket with Jayden Seales, who managed a gritty 13 and saw off 58 deliveries before Root removed him, caught and bowled.

From 232-8 at the start of play, having been 128-7 at one point on Friday, West Indies amassed 297 and England's jaws were already on the floor.

It got no better for the tourists after lunch as they plummeted to 39-4, still 54 short of making West Indies bat again. Zak Crawley flashed a catch to Jason Holder to give Seales an early wicket, before Mayers removed Root for the second time in the match.

Reaching for the ball outside off stump, Root got a hefty edge and gave John Campbell a comfortable take at first slip. After a duck in the first innings, to fall for five this time was a grim blow.

Mayers went on to bowl Dan Lawrence for a duck and prise out Ben Stokes for four. Opener Alex Lees had avoided being part of the early churn, obdurately defying the home attack in a go-slow innings, and began to lead a recovery alongside Jonny Bairstow. They put on 41 for the fifth wicket before Bairstow got a thin edge to give Alzarri Joseph a wicket.

Ben Foakes fell to a lamentable run out at the end of the same over, and Lees, who faced 132 balls, perished for 31 when Mayers tore out the left-hander's off stump. Mayers had his fifth wicket when Craig Overton edged to Holder, who juggled at third slip before clinging on. West Indies could not quite get over the line before the close, but victory is in sight.


Vaughan senses end of Root era

Taking into account all Tests where he has batted twice, this was Root's worst performance with the bat since making one and a duck against New Zealand in 2015 at Headingley. He has been terrific with the bat for England in recent times, but even he fell flat in this game.

Vaughan said on BT Sport: "I just feel that this could be his last Test match as captain. I can see in his face, I've been in that position. When it goes, and he's been captain for such a long period of time, it might be starting to come to an end for him."

Marvellous Mayers tortures tourists

Mayers, who in 10 previous Tests had achieved innings-best figures of 3-24, found himself with figures of 5-9 here, with England finding his medium-fast pace surprisingly too hot to handle. 

Chris Woakes, Jack Leach and Saqib Mahmood delivered with the bat in England's first innings, scoring 115 runs between them, and they are the three batters remaining this time. Yet snowfall in Grenada on Sunday seems about as likely as another England rescue act. This team looks ready for home.

Joe Root should be asked again if he truly wants to stay on as England captain, according to former skipper Michael Vaughan.

As England toiled in the early stages of day three of the third Test against West Indies, Vaughan said England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chiefs should sit down with Root after the series in the Caribbean.

The ECB is advertising for an England men's team managing director, but Vaughan says a priority should be the captaincy.

England's bowlers struggled to make inroads in the latter stages of West Indies' innings on Saturday, allowing Joshua Da Silva to reach a maiden Test century and the hosts to open a 93-run first-innings lead.

Vaughan questioned the vitality of the England players, a number of whom are still carrying scars from the team's 4-0 Ashes drubbing.

Interim managing director Andrew Strauss said after England's Ashes calamity that Root was "absolutely clear" he wanted to keep the captaincy. However, Vaughan thinks the time has come to ask again.

"I think the biggest meeting first and foremost is to sit with Joe Root, and really look him in the eyes and say, 'Have you got the energy?'," Vaughan said on BT Sport.

"There comes that moment as England captain that the energy is not with you. You're still going out there, you're still trying your best, but you've not got the energy. If he has got the energy, then I would stick with him. But if he's lost that energy and the real drive and that desire… As a captain, you have to wake up every morning and it's got to be your love, captaining the England side.

"If you've lost that ounce of any kind of loving it, you've got to give it up. If he's lost that desire and love to captain England, just be the batter, because he'll score as many runs, and he'll still be a great leader in the side.

"I can see an England captain that looks a little bit drained."

Vaughan said of England's morning performance, as West Indies advanced from 232-8 to 297 all out: "It looked an England side, and England captain, that looked very, very tired."

He praised the home team's efforts in frustrating the tourists, but added: "I'm pretty sure there'll be a lot of England fans out there watching the telly, throwing things at the screen and thinking, 'I could do a lot better than that'.

"It was just a little bit of a lack of imagination. It concerned me a bit about the skipper this morning, I didn't think he tried enough, didn't try himself early enough."

Part-time spinner Root eventually brought himself on to bowl and took the final wicket, having Jayden Seales caught and bowled.

"As a captain in those kinds of situations, you've got to be so energised, you've got to be on your bowlers, you've got to be on your team, you've got to be creating ideas, creating angles," said Vaughan. "I didn't see enough of that this morning."

Root's difficult day got worse after lunch when he was caught at slip for five off Kyle Mayers to leave England 27-2 in their second innings.

Ollie Robinson has been ruled out of England's series decider against West Indies after failing to recover from a back injury.

The Sussex seamer missed out on the drawn matches in Antigua and Barbados and will play no part in Grenada as England chase a first Test win in nine attempts.

England confirmed their squad on Wednesday, a day before the third Test begins, with Craig Overton recovering from illness to replace Matthew Fisher in the only change.

Robinson was unable to prove his fitness in a net session and skipper Joe Root is hopeful his team-mate can soon put his fitness issues behind him.

"Ollie wasn't as good as we would have liked or he was expecting himself," Root said prior to the squad announcement.

"It's just frustrating for him, as it is for me. He's working very hard but there's something that's nagging away at him.

"I'm not sure exactly of the medical prognosis. He's just got to keep on doing what he's doing and trust in time that he's going to get himself back.

"We all know how effective he has been and how good he's been in his short career up to now so the sooner we can get him back the better."

 

Root is 116 runs short of reaching 10,000 in Test cricket, a tally only Alastair Cook has previously reached among England players.

The 31-year-old hit centuries in the opening two Tests against West Indies but could not help his side to victory, something he is looking to put right in this winner-takes-all clash.

"I really hope we can take another step forward as a team and get across the line because there's been a lot of good stuff," he told reporters.

"We've played the majority of the cricket up to now and it would be a great way to end the tour. The most pleasing thing is we've not had a nightmare session that's cost us a Test.

"We've looked at each individual session and each hour and looked to win each and every one of them."

England are unbeaten in their last three away Test matches against West Indies, having lost each of the three games prior to that run.

Their most recent meeting at St George's was in April 2015, with England claiming a nine-wicket victory.

It is all to play for at the Grenada National Stadium as West Indies and England go in search of a Test series-clinching victory.

The Windies have dug in for draws under pressure on the final day in Antigua and Barbados.

England are bottom of the World Test Championship table, with the Windies directly above them as both sides strive to transform their fortunes in the longest format.

The tourists look set to be without seamer Ollie Robinson once again as he continues to struggle with fitness issues.

England have not won a Test series in the Caribbean for 18 years, but have undoubtedly made strides during this tour as they battle for the Richards-Botham Trophy.

Yet they are still without a win in eight matches in the longest format and have been unable to show the potency to dismiss West Indies twice when in a great position to take the lead in this series.

Kraigg Brathwaite was the Windies' hero at Kensington Oval, showing incredible application and skill in both innings.

The skipper batted for 710 minutes for his 160 in the first innings and dug in for an unbeaten 56 on the last day in Bridgetown to keep the series level.

England must produce some heat on the Spice Island if they are to head home with a 1-0 victory.

 

Brathwaite and Root leading by example

The Windies were indebted to opener Brathwaite in Barbados as he dropped the anchor in both innings on his home ground.

By facing 673 balls combined in his two obdurate knocks, the skipper set a record for the most deliveries faced by a West Indies batter in a single Test. Brathwaite has the more runs than anyone else in this series, scoring 304 at an average of 101.33.

Prolific England captain Joe Root has also been magnificent, racking up 284 - including two centuries - at an average of 71.


Overton set to return, unchanged squad for Windies

Craig Overton was ruled out of the second Test due to illness, but is set to get another opportunity with Matt Fisher expected to step aside.

Saqib Mahmood should also be unleashed on the Windies again after an excellent opening spell on the final day in Barbados, with spinner Matt Parkinson facing the prospect of missing out again and Robinson not fit.

West Indies named an unchanged squad after frustrating the tourists once again on the final day.

England captain Joe Root defended his decision to wait until lunch to declare after Kraigg Brathwaite made history to salvage a draw at Kensington Oval.

Root declared with the tourists 185-5 after batting on during a morning session on day five that included short delays due to rain in Barbados.

The Windies were never likely to chase down a target of 282 to win, but Brathwaite led by example with 56 not out after making 160 in a marathon first innings, to frustrate England with support from Joshua Da Silva (30no) and Jermaine Blackwood (27).

West Indies batted out 65 overs and were 135-5 when Root shook hands with Brathwaite, setting up a series decider in Grenada.

Opener Brathwaite set a record for the most balls faced by a West Indies batsman in a single Test – 673 – on the back of his incredible first-innings vigil.

Jack Leach took 3-26 and debutant Saqib Mahmood 2-21 on the last day as England were unable to force a victory, having also failed to bowl West Indies out on day five in Antigua.

Root had no regrets about not ending England's second innings earlier in the day.

He said in the post-match presentation: "It's always a tricky one. With how small this ground is and how strong the winds are, a couple of overs of someone coming off – you don't want to make it too close."

Root praised spinner Leach, who racked up 94.5 overs in the match on a flat pitch.

"It's really pleasing to see Jack play the way he has. You can see how much he enjoys it out there," Root said. "He's bowling with great control and looks threatening. It's great to see him find his feet and look comfortable at this level."

Marathon man Brathwaite was delighted by the fight his side showed under pressure.

He said: "I thought it was a tremendous effort. England bowled extremely well. It was good as a team we could fight and put 400 back. Fighting at the end, that is the attitude we want."

Brathwaite wants to see a surface in Grenada that will give the Windies paceman more of an opportunity to do damage.

He added: "We put in a very big effort, but we want a result in the last Test. We have to see what they produce [the pitch for the final Test] but let's hope it has something for the pacers."

England captain Joe Root hit a masterful century on day one of the second Test against the West Indies at Bridgetown.

Having won the toss and chosen to bat, Root was at the crease early on after Zak Crawley was dismissed for a duck, but was not flustered as he set about giving his team a solid foundation on a flat pitch.

The visitors ended the day on 244-3 with Dan Lawrence contributing an excellent 91, as West Indies struggled to get anything out of the pitch, though things could have been different but for a dropped catch.

England handed debuts to bowlers Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Fisher in place of Mark Wood and Craig Overton, and got off to a shocking start as Crawley was out without scoring after he failed to leave a Jayden Seales delivery, nicking it through to Joshua Da Silva.

Root and Alex Lees steadied the innings as they slowly put together a partnership of 76, though Root was somewhat fortunate to see Da Silva drop him on 34, even if it was a difficult opportunity for the West Indies wicketkeeper down the leg side.

The Yorkshireman reached his 50, only to see Lees fall next ball for 30 to lbw off the bowling of Veerasammy Permaul.

Lawrence was next in and though he started slowly, soon settled in as he began hitting boundaries, including a six off Permaul.

The 24-year-old reached the fourth 50 of his career just before Root sealed his ton, which is the 25th time he has raised his bat to three figures in Test cricket.

After tea, it was all too comfortable for England as Root (119 not out) and Lawrence (91) continued to build on a partnership of 164, before Lawrence hit a Jason Holder delivery straight to Kraigg Brathwaite off the last ball of the day to give the hosts a rare occasion to celebrate.

Root in the form of his life

It must be said that it was a very batsman-friendly pitch on day one at Bridgetown, but Root took full advantage as he put together a very useful knock to surely ensure a big first-innings total for his team.

After scoring 1,708 Test runs in 15 matches in 2021, he has already managed 310 in three and a half in 2022.

This was the fourth Test 100 Root has scored in the West Indies, more than he has managed in any other country apart from England.

Lawrence offers ideal support role

One continuing theme of the recent Ashes series was England players coming in to bat, seemingly trying to settle slowly into their innings, and then getting themselves out before they started scoring any runs.

Lawrence looked to be doing the same here, but once he got his first boundary, looked calm and composed at the crease as he set about assisting Root in building a big total, and managed to reach the highest score of his Test career so far before a disappointing dismissal.

Joe Root praised his England team for their performance in a first Test draw with West Indies following a "difficult year".

Captain Root has led England into this series alongside stand-in coach Paul Collingwood after the ECB made widespread changes in response to a dismal Ashes tour.

England had issues throughout their line-up in Australia, and the decision to respond by leaving both Stuart Broad and James Anderson at home for this series was not a popular one.

Fellow bowler Mark Wood was lost to an injury for which he is being assessed in the first Test, too, but England remained the most likely winners in Antigua.

Helped by Root's 109 in a second-innings 349-6 declared, England gave themselves two sessions to bowl out West Indies and threatened to do so when Jack Leach took three wickets in a strong spell.

It was not to be, as West Indies finished on 147-4 – some way short of a target of 286 but not at real risk of defeat.

The post-match outlook from Root was a positive one, however.

"I'm really pleased with the way we played, especially given the position we were in after that first hour," said Root, referring to an alarming first day when England slumped to 48-4 prior to Jonny Bairstow's vital 140.

"The guys stayed calm and showed great maturity to get us to a total, especially off the back of a difficult winter and a difficult year where we've not scored anywhere near enough runs."

Lauding his bowlers, too, Root added: "The way the guys stuck at it, especially having one bowler down as well, showed a huge amount of character and it was a huge step forward in many respects.

"No-one stopped believing or gave up all day. We really did give ourselves the best chance of winning this game."

West Indies great Carlos Brathwaite was not happy with England's tactics after Joe Root waited until there were just five balls remaining before conceding the draw.

After falling to 67-4, West Indies duo Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder shut up shop, surviving for a combined 239 deliveries as Jack Leach (3-57) and Ben Stokes (1-24) searched for a miracle.

As the day's remaining overs dwindled, England showed no desire to call it early, drawing criticism from Brathwaite as he spoke about the lack of respect shown by the visitors.

"In my opinion [the match] did [go too long]," Brathwaite told BT Sport. 

"If I were Kraigg Brathwaite, or any of the senior players in our dressing room, I would have found it a bit disrespectful that in the last hour.

"With two set batsmen batting the way that they were, the pitch offering nothing, that England still felt as though they could get six wickets in 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four [overs]... up until five balls left."

Braithwaite went on to say that he feels England would not have handled the situation the same way against more high-profile Test outfits.

"If you want to become a top team, you have to think like a top team," he added. "West Indies may not be there yet, but the mentality has to be. 

"Would England have done that if it were an Ashes Test? Would they have done that against New Zealand, India, Pakistan? I think the answer is no. So why have they done it against us?

"If [West Indies] need any sort of steely determination added, I think that passage of play should have given them it. We are a better team than we're given credit for – this passage of play proves it, and now we have two Test matches to prove we are better than England think we are."

 

 

 

Zak Crawley and Joe Root put on a 193-run stand for the second wicket in England's second innings to boost their hopes of victory in the first Test against West Indies – at least until the weather intervened.

Day four could have been a tricky one for the tourists in Antigua, with any rush of early wickets potentially handing West Indies a clear sight of an opening win.

After Jack Leach concluded the hosts' innings on 375 by taking the wicket of Jayden Seales with the third ball of the day, Crawley, who went on to reach 117 not out, required a review in the first over to overturn an lbw decision.

Fellow opener Alex Lees was not so fortunate, departing for six to Kemar Roach to reduce England to 24-1, still 40 runs behind their opponents.

Yet that brought Root out alongside Crawley, and the captain made an unbeaten 84 in an outstanding partnership that altered England's outlook considerably.

A short rain delay with Crawley on 49 might have ramped up the nerves, but he returned to pass 50 and continue on into three figures, scoring his second Test century.

Root was well on course to follow Crawley when the weather halted England again, with play eventually abandoned for the day after discussions between the umpires and the captains.

Root willing to take a risk?

England are 153 runs ahead on 217-1, in a great position to accelerate their scoring and attempt to win this match rather than settle for a draw. But the early finish on Friday meant their lead was not larger, making any call to go on the offensive a gamble as West Indies could yet themselves excel with the bat.

In the first match of the series, skipper Root may well take the more measured approach – particularly with his bowlers toiling in the first innings.

Crawley knock critical

That Root might have such a dilemma owes a great deal to Crawley, who put a disappointing first-innings score of eight behind him in some style. Had he departed early again, as he might have when a review was required, England would likely have faced a long day looking to protect hopes of a draw.

Crawley's unbeaten 200-ball knock, his score boosted by 16 fours, instead gave the tourists hope of a first away victory in nine Tests.

Cricket icons Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham unveiled the new Richards-Botham trophy which will be won by the victors in Test Series between West Indies and England Men’s Team.

The trophy pays tribute to two all-time greats – whose rivalry and friendship embodies the close relationship and mutual respect between the two sides. The unveiling ceremony was held on Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua ahead of the first Apex Test match which starts on Tuesday, March 8.

The sparkling new trophy symbolizes “Courage. Friendship. Respect” – values that represent the Test cricketing rivalry between West Indies and England, and of two legends who best define them – Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham.

It has an ultra-modern design and consists of an upside-down cup, based on a Georgian rummer, with the joining sphere a cricket ball. One end is a rummer for drinking rum and the other a wine/ale goblet. The rummer has palm fronds and the ale cup has willow leaves. The ceremonial idea is that the winning team holding the trophy would have the rummer that represents their team face upward while they held it and it would be ceremoniously turned over when the other team wins.

Test matches between these two rivals date back to 1928 when West Indies made their first trip to England. The teams, under the captaincy of Kraigg Brathwaite and Joe Root, will renew the rivalry with the Apex Test Series.

“It’s a truly special feeling to have the fantastic trophy named in honour of my great friend Ian and myself. We played a lot together and built a great friendship on and off the cricket field,” said Sir Vivian. “As I said earlier, I am truly delighted to know that the game that I have shown my love for all my life is naming such a prestigious award in recognition of what I managed to achieve. It’s a beautiful trophy and I want to again thank everyone who came up with this idea and contributed to its creation."

Botham said he was honoured to have a trophy in his name.

“It’s a great idea and a truly lovely trophy. It really stands out and I’m honoured to have my name on the trophy alongside my friend Sir Viv,” he said.

“The captain who picks up the trophy at the end of the upcoming series will be a happy man.”

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite said he was eager to get going on Tuesday in what he expects to be a closely contested series.

“We’re really excited and ready for the upcoming Apex Test Series against England. This is going to be an amazing three weeks of cricket,” Brathwaite said.

“It’s extra special too that we’re playing for the new Richards-Botham trophy, a fitting tribute to these two great men. We want to be the first team to get our hands on it and celebrate with our fans.”

England’s captain Joe Root believes the trophy named in honour of the two greats is a fitting tribute to the rivalry between the two teams.

“Test series between England and West Indies are iconic, and to have a trophy named after arguably the two most outstanding England and West Indies cricketers of all-time in Lord Ian Botham and Sir Vivian Richards is a fitting tribute for this great rivalry. We are enthused about the next month of competition, and we hope to make the England fans proud by lifting the Richards-Botham trophy,” he said.

The Apex Test Series will feature three Test matches. The first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the second Apex Test will be played at Kensington Oval, Barbados from March 16-20, with the climax in the third Apex Test at the Grenada National Stadium, Grenada on March 24-28

Shane Warne's death left Mike Gatting in disbelief – almost three decades after the Australia spinner dismissed the England batsman with the so-called Ball of the Century.

The loss of Warne, at the age of 52, sent shock through the cricket world, with Gatting forever closely associated with the man from Victoria.

Former England skipper Gatting was dismissed in sensational style by Warne during the opening Ashes Test at Old Trafford on June 4, 1993, when a seemingly innocuous delivery turned sharply and bowled the bamboozled home batsman.

The delivery veered to pitch outside the line of the right-handed Gatting's leg stump, only to dip, rip and zip beyond his defensive prod, beating the outside edge of the bat before going on to hit off stump.

Warne had already played 11 Tests, but this was his first in England, and the hosts only had an inkling of his talent. His first delivery in an Ashes Test went down in history.

"We understood he was a very talented sportsperson. He liked his surfing, he was a typical sort of Aussie larrikin, as they called them, who could spin the cricket ball," Gatting told BBC 5 Live.

"We didn't know much more about him than that, and in the match before they told him to just bowl his leg-breaks and he didn't bowl his flippers, and topples [top-spinners], and googlies, but when he got down the other end there, I was just trying to watch the ball.

"I knew it was a leg-break and I knew it was going to spin, you could hear it coming through the air from down the other end, and then just at the last yard or so, as a good leg-spinner does, it just drifted in, and it drifted just outside leg stump and just turned out of nowhere, a long, long way.

"I'm quite a wide chap and it got past me as well as everything else and just clipped the off bail, and I was just as dumbfounded as I am now to hear that he's died."

Gatting, now 64, was in his final years as an international batsman. Even with the passing of time, he remains astonished by the way Warne got him out that day.

"I can't believe it, and I couldn't believe it then, and it was just one of those that sort of probably helped him," Gatting said.

"He was a pretty confident bloke already, but I'm sure that gave him a huge amount of confidence and took him to the next level, and he kept going up levels after that."

Reflecting on Warne's death, after a suspected heart attack, Gatting said: "It's been just devastating really, and unbelievable. When you think he's 52, and he's been an absolute legend in the game, and I don't use that word lightly either. It's just unreal.

"We've lost a great cricketer and a great guy. I'm very, very happy to have called him a great friend."

Current England captain Joe Root said his squad, currently on tour in the West Indies, were "shocked and really sad" to hear news of Warne's death.

"My experiences of Shane were of someone who absolutely loves the game of cricket, was always a joy to be around, gave so much energy to the sport," Root said.

"Growing up as a kid he was a massive idol of mine, someone you wanted to emulate. The way he could win a game on his own, his skill level was incredible. But to have the opportunity to spend some time with him and get to know him a little bit, albeit not a lot, it's deeply saddening to hear the news this morning."

Root said watching Warne in the 2005 Ashes, where he shone with 40 wickets despite Australia losing the series 2-1, was "the sort of thing that makes you want to get into the game and play at the highest level".

"You could see his joy and enthusiasm when he played was still there when you got to speak to him," Root said. "He just wanted to see the game played at the peak of its powers. It's just really sad."

England captain Joe Root believes there is still a way back for Stuart Broad and James Anderson, and admitted that he is grateful to have maintained his own position after a dire Ashes series.

Anderson and Broad have been outspoken about their omissions from the squad for the upcoming tour of the West Indies, with the latter also criticising the fact that he was only informed of the decision via a brief phone call with Interim managing director of cricket Andrew Strauss.

Strauss selected the 16-man squad along with interim coach Paul Collingwood and head scout James Taylor, after a 4-0 Ashes defeat led to the departure of England head coach Chris Silverwood.

Despite seeing his experienced team-mates dropped, Root claimed there could be a way back into the fold for the duo.

"I've spoken both to Stuart and Jimmy and they're obviously disappointed and angry. Stuart in particular has voiced that quite publicly," Root said, as reported via The Telegraph.

"You'd expect that. I've got a huge amount of respect for both of them. It's been made very clear, no one is saying this is the end for them. 

"If we're in a position where [Broad and Anderson] can come back into this team, then great, that's only going to strengthen things. No-one's been told that it's the end of the road."

Anderson and Broad have taken a combined 1,177 Test wickets, ranking as the country's two most prolific bowlers of all time in the longest format.

With a number of regulars, such as Jos Buttler and Rory Burns, missing the Windies tour, Root acknowledged he was thankful to keep his place, though he has never lost faith in his own ability.

Indeed, despite England's poor display as a team Down Under, Root enjoyed a stellar 2021, scoring 1,708 runs across 29 Test innings.

 

"It's never nice when you see people that you've worked closely with for a long period of time lose their jobs," Root continued.

"Clearly it was a disappointing tour [in Australia] and we massively underperformed. As Straussy mentioned, [we need] a bit of a reset, and a real chance to take things forward. I'm very grateful that I've got the opportunity to do that as captain.

"It's a real opportunity that we've got to take with both hands. It's obviously a very new-looking squad, and it's a real chance for the guys to step up and really take the chances that are presented to them – me included.

"I didn't waver. I'm very passionate about trying to take this team forward. I'm grateful I've got that opportunity, I really am."

Root posted a batting average of just 32.2 throughout England's third consecutive series defeat in Australia, well down on his career Test average of 49.23, but will now attempt bounce back by leading England to just their second series win in the Caribbean since 1968.

Andrew Strauss called for England's bowlers to step up after the omission of James Anderson and Stuart Broad against the West Indies but suggested the pair could feature later in the year.

England's interim managing director Strauss, interim coach Paul Collingwood and head scout James Taylor made up the three-man selection panel for the series, which starts in Antigua on March 8, and opted for a host of changes to the side.

Joe Root will once again lead his country, despite a 4-0 Ashes hammering by Australia in December and January, with Collingwood acting as interim coach following the departure of Chris Silverwood.

Anderson and Broad, who have managed 1,177 wickets in 321 Tests between them, were the most notable names left out of the touring party for the three-Test series in the Caribbean.

Lancashire pair Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Parkinson, along with Yorkshire's Matthew Fisher, were all included as the trio eye red-ball international debuts.

Strauss challenged the bowlers of the new-look squad to deliver in the absence of their evergreen stars, insisting that both the fresh faces and the more experienced players – such as Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes – must step up.

"This is an opportunity to refresh and look forward," Strauss told BBC Sport in an interview published on Wednesday. "We've brought some new blood into the bowling resources. 

"But we're also asking some of our existing bowlers to play a slightly different role to the one they've played before and show a bit more leadership."

 

Strauss reiterated the omission of Broad and Anderson does not signal the end for the duo, while he denied the pair's stature could be intimidating to captain Root and his younger players.

"They've earned the right to have that stature," he added.

"But we also have to think that there is life beyond them as well and we need to develop some of the other bowlers and allow them to play more of a leadership role, rather than just a followership role.

"No-one is saying Broad and Anderson won't feature this summer and beyond.

"My job is to give the new director of cricket and coach options from which to pick and we can learn more about the options we do have on this tour.

"The new coach and director of cricket will look at selection for the summer and Broad and Anderson will be very much in the mix."

Former opener Strauss also confirmed that Root will come in at number three, while the uncapped Durham batter Alex Lees will partner Zak Crawley at the top of the order amid England's ongoing battle problems.

"A lot of our batting problems have come at the top of the order," Strauss continued.

"Alex Lees comes in as a mature cricketer who knows his game well and it's an opportunity for him to stake his claim with Zak Crawley.

"Joe Root has said very categorically that he wants to bat at three and take that responsibility on.

"That's quite a fundamental shift in itself and creates a bit of space in the middle order for some of the less experienced players to play better and more consistently."

England have left out their all-time leading wicket-takers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, for the upcoming Test series against West Indies.

In the wake of head coach Chris Silverwood departing after a dismal Ashes series, England will be led in the Caribbean by captain Joe Root and interim coach Paul Collingwood.

There has been a push to freshen up their red-ball squad for the three-match tussle, starting in Antigua on March 8, and that has meant Anderson and Broad losing their places.

The selection panel, consisting of interim managing director of cricket Andrew Strauss, Collingwood and head scout James Taylor, named a 16-man squad on Tuesday.

As well as Broad and Anderson, six other players who featured in Australia have been left out: Dom Bess, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan and openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, who both endured poor stints Down Under.

Strauss contended this was by no means definitely the end of the road in Tests for Broad, 35, or Anderson, who turns 40 in July. Between them, the pair have taken 1,177 wickets in 321 Tests.

 

"In respect of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, I want to emphasise this does not mean the end for them as England players," said Strauss, who captained both seamers during his playing career.

"We feel that it is important to look at some exciting new bowling potential and give some added responsibility to other players who have featured previously.

"No one doubts the quality and experience that James and Stuart bring to the England set-up. It will be up to the new managing director and permanent head coach to decide on whether they will be involved this summer and beyond."

However, Strauss also explained that England are looking to "start a new cycle" after a run of poor results in the longest format.

"We felt that it was time to draw a line after the Ashes defeat, look forward and give some impetus with an influx of new players," he said.

"This selection of this squad is the start of a process and a journey to get England Test cricket back to where it needs to be, and the hard work starts now."

Durham opener Alex Lees and Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher have earned maiden call-ups, while Lancashire's Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson will be aiming to make their Test debuts.

Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes has also been included in Buttler's absence, having not featured since playing against India in March 2021.

England squad:

Joe Root (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Zak Crawley, Matthew Fisher, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

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