Australia Test captain Pat Cummins believes Justin Langer had no need to apologise for his intensity but insists he will always stick up for his mates amid a backlash to his sacking as head coach.

Former opener Langer guided his country to T20 World Cup success last November before overseeing a 4-0 Ashes thrashing of England across December and January.

However, the 51-year-old rejected a short-term extension on his contract, which was due to expire in June, and resigned as head coach of Australia last week.

Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja and Shane Warne headed a host of names in Australian cricket to question the treatment of Langer, who has recently been linked with the vacant England head coach role.

But Cummins responded by emphasising his defence of his team-mates and Cricket Australia on Wednesday as he addressed the matter for the first time with a statement and later at a news conference.

The fast bowler wrote: "Justin has acknowledged that his style was intense. And it was. He has apologised to players and staff for his intensity.

"I think the apology was unnecessary because the players were okay with JL's intensity. It came from a good place - his fierce love of Australia and the baggy green - something which has served Australian cricket well for three decades.

"I take this responsibility seriously. I live and breathe it. We also have a duty to our mates. Many former players have reached out to me and silently offered me their advice, which is welcome.

"Some others have spoken in the media – which is also welcome and comes from a love of the game and their support of a mate.

"To all past players, I want to say this: Just as you have always stuck up for your mates, I'm sticking up for mine."

Cummins, who also explained it would not have been right for him to make "public comment" on the topic earlier, praised Langer's efforts, though he is now looking forward to a new era of Australian cricket.

"I think this group looking forward, a few things through the review process we really wanted and found important to get the best out of our players is I think the players benefit from a more collaborative approach," Cummins told reporters.

"A big theme this summer was to be more calm, more composed. That's been the feedback from the players, staff and Cricket Australia that that's the direction we want to take the team.

"I think he tweaked and changed quite a bit. He deserves a lot of credit for that. I think the question then became do we think that it's sustainable. We thought it is the right time to make a change.

"I think some of these skill sets are perhaps a little bit different to perhaps his traditional coaching style.

"I think he tweaked his coaching style in the last six months and did a really good job, but we think now is the right time for a different direction. It's a matter of opinion but we think it's the right one."

Andrew McDonald has been promoted from assistant coach in the interim and is expected to lead Australia when they tour Pakistan in March.

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.

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja says Test skipper or white-ball skipper Aaron Finch needs to come out and explain Justin Langer's exit as head coach.

Khawaja, who returned to the Test side during the Ashes after more than two years outside the team, was named in Australia's squad for next month's Pakistan Test series.

The 35-year-old admitted he was sad for "the person" when Langer resigned as Australia head coach amid a messy exit with talk of a player revolt.

Langer spent almost four years in the head coaching role but resigned on Saturday, rejecting a six-month contract extension.

The 51-year-old's exit comes after leading Australia to a 4-0 Ashes triumph and a stunning T20 World Cup victory which has raised eyebrows, yet there have been rumblings of internal issues.

"I just came back in the team two months ago. I've been a little bit out of it, a little bit disconnected, but there's obviously a lot of ex-players coming and talking about the playing group," Khawaja told reporters on Tuesday.

"At some stage, one of the captains, probably Finchy or Patty, will probably have to stand up and answer some questions just to get rid of all the speculation that's going around. To just put an end to it all."

Khawaja said Langer had tried to take on player feedback and insisted "always got along with him".

But several key members of the Australian side, including Cummins, failed to publicly back Langer for a contract extension in the lead-up to Saturday's announcement.

"It's part of speculation which I don't think is really healthy. I just don't want to add to it," Cummins said on Thursday when asked about a contract renewal for Langer.

"That's Cricket Australia's job. It's not my job. I've really loved my time working with JL and we've had an evaluation process. I've been part of that, a lot of other players and staff have been part of that.

"Just like when we get evaluated. I've got huge respect for JL, really like working with him. But it's not my call."

Australia's first Test squad after Justin Langer's departure has been confirmed with 18 players selected for the team's first tour of Pakistan in nearly 25 years.

Spinner Ashton Agar is the only addition to the wider group that won the Ashes 4-0 over England, with fast bowler Jhye Richardson left out.

Agar comes into the squad to add another spin option for Australia alongside Nathan Lyon and Mitch Swepson given the likely favourable conditions on the subcontinent.

Opening batsman Marcus Harris has held his spot in the squad despite being dropped for the fifth Ashes Test, while Mitch Marsh and Josh Inglis are included as all-rounder and wicketkeeper cover after carrying the drinks in the Ashes.

“This squad covers for all scenarios including the conditions given it has been such a long time since Australia was last in Pakistan," National Selection Panel chair George Bailey said.

“With several subcontinent tours and a one-day World Cup in India on the near horizon this is a great first up challenge for the group after the successful home Ashes Series.

"It’s also a very historic tour given the length of time since an Australian side last toured Pakistan.”

Australia, who have not toured Pakistan since 1998 for security reasons, are also scheduled for an away series in Sri Lanka in June.

The three-Test match series against Pakistan begins in Rawalpindi on March 4, with further games in Karachi and Lahore.

The Pakistan tour will also include three One-Day Internationals and one T20 International, although that squad is yet to be announced.

Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

Australia's first Test squad after Justin Langer's departure has been confirmed with 18 players selected for the team's first tour of Pakistan in nearly 25 years.

Spinner Ashton Agar is the only addition to the wider group that won the Ashes 4-0 over England, with fast bowler Jhye Richardson left out.

Agar comes into the squad to add another spin option for Australia alongside Nathan Lyon and Mitch Swepson given the likely favourable conditions on the subcontinent.

Opening batsman Marcus Harris has held his spot in the squad despite being dropped for the fifth Ashes Test, while Mitch Marsh and Josh Inglis are included as all-rounder and wicketkeeper cover after carrying the drinks in the Ashes.

“This squad covers for all scenarios including the conditions given it has been such a long time since Australia was last in Pakistan," National Selection Panel chair George Bailey said.

“With several subcontinent tours and a one-day World Cup in India on the near horizon this is a great first up challenge for the group after the successful home Ashes Series.

"It’s also a very historic tour given the length of time since an Australian side last toured Pakistan.”

Australia, who have not toured Pakistan since 1998 for security reasons, are also scheduled for an away series in Sri Lanka in June.

The three-Test match series against Pakistan begins in Rawalpindi on March 4, with further games in Karachi and Lahore.

The Pakistan tour will also include three One-Day Internationals and one T20 International, although that squad is yet to be announced.

Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

Paul Collingwood will lead England in their Test series against West Indies following Chris Silverwood's sacking.

The ECB has made big changes following a humbling 4-0 Ashes defeat to Australia, with Silverwood and assistant Graham Thorpe following managing director Ashley Giles out of the door.

But Collingwood, another assistant, has remained in place and will take charge for the three Tests, as he did for last month's T20I tour.

After the ECB confirmed his short-term appointment on Monday, Collingwood said: "I am genuinely excited to be leading the Test team for the tour of the Caribbean. I can't wait to get started.

"Having a challenging Test series against the West Indies straight off the back of the Ashes disappointment gives us a chance from now to reset and rebuild.

"Playing Test matches for England is the highest accolade in the game. My objective is to give players clarity, direction and encouragement for them to start building something special.

"I have spoken to Joe Root and Ben Stokes, and both are excited and passionate to take the team forward in this new cycle. Although they know it won't be easy, they have the desire and bravery to do things differently to ensure the team can prosper.

"We have an opportunity to get back on track."

The England squad is set to be named later this week, with Collingwood to join them in Antigua on February 25 following a break in Barbados.

After almost four tumultuous years, Justin Langer's tenure as Australia head coach has come to an end.

Langer's resignation was confirmed on Saturday just a day on from a lengthy board meeting with Cricket Australia.

The news comes despite Langer having led Australia to T20 World Cup glory and an emphatic home Ashes series triumph in recent months, with the now former coach's intensity away from the pitch a seeming point of contention among the playing squad.

With Langer's time at an end, here is a look at some of his highs and lows in charge of Australia.

Lows:

White-ball whitewash to England

Just a month on from replacing Darren Lehmann in the aftermath of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, Langer endured a desperately disappointing white-ball tour of England. Australia were whitewashed 5-0 in the ODI series and lost by 28 runs in the solitary T20I as life without suspended duo Steve Smith and David Warner began in inauspicious fashion.

No home comforts against India

In January 2019, Langer and his team made unwanted history as Australia were subjected to a home Test series defeat to a side from Asia for the first time as India secured a 2-1 victory. Wins in the first and third Tests for the tourists had sandwiched a 146-run drubbing in the second, but when the fourth contest ended in a draw Virat Kohli and his team could celebrate a famous triumph.

More India woe

Two years on, Australia were in a stronger position against the same opposition with Smith and Warner having long-since returned from their international suspensions. Things started well when India were knocked over for a measly 36 in the second innings of the first Test en route to victory in Adelaide. But India levelled things up in the second match and, after a drawn third Test, were triumphant in the Brisbane decider as murmurs of discontent over Langer's leadership began.

Highs

Plenty of heart in England

Australia were pretty much ever presents in enemy territory during the English summer of 2019 and Langer's team showed signs of encouragement. A year on from the white-ball drubbings inflicted by England, Australia – buoyed by the return of Warner of and Smith – enjoyed a valiant run to the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup where they were beaten by the hosts. Soon after it was time for five-day cricket, and Australia retained the Ashes after a 2-2 drawn series. It was the first time they had avoided defeat in England since 2001.

Back on top of the world

By May 2020, Australia were well and truly back in their groove. Series wins on home soil against Pakistan and New Zealand saw them return to the number-one ranked team in Test cricket, while they also ascended to the top of the T20 rankings for the first time in their history.

World Cup glory

Australia were crowned T20 World Cup champions for the first time in the United Arab Emirates in November 2021, enjoying a dominant win over New Zealand – the same team they had defeated in the 2015 ODI World Cup showpiece – in the final. However, Langer himself admitted he had taken more of a backseat role for the tournament and the victory was said to have stemmed from a player-driven environment.

Ashes dominance

It has been less than a month since the end of a home Ashes series, which Australia completely dominated against a woeful England. The Aussies retained the urn in record-breaking time and only some valiant English defence in the fourth Test in Sydney denied the hosts a 5-0 whitewash. The build-up had not gone exactly to plan with captain Tim Paine having stood down amid an illicit-texting scandal, while new skipper Pat Cummins did not endorse Langer for a new contract during the series.

Justin Langer refused Cricket Australia's (CA) offer of a short-term contract extension, CEO Nick Hockley has said.

It was confirmed by Langer's management group DSEG that he had stepped down as Australia head coach on Saturday, following a lengthy meeting with CA the day prior.

Langer's most recent assignment saw Australia hammer England 4-0 in the Ashes, which followed on from a T20 World Cup triumph in the United Arab Emirates.

However, the latter achievement is said to have stemmed from a player-driven environment with Langer having agreed to take a more hands-off approach after receiving criticism following a home defeat to India in the 2020-21 Test series and subsequent white-ball losses to West Indies and Bangladesh.

Langer's intensity away from the pitch has been an apparent point of contention among some of the playing squad.

Australia are set to defend their T20 crown on home soil later this year and Langer - whose winning record is bettered only by John Buchanan among Australia coaches since 1985 when they began employing full-time head coaches – was offered the chance to take charge through that tournament.

However, that offer was not taken up, with Hockley hoping Langer would have stayed on for a "period of transition". Andrew McDonald, Australia assistant coach, will instead take charge in the interim.

"We're disappointed that Justin decided not to accept this extension and instead resigned, effective immediately," Hockley told reporters on Saturday afternoon.

"We very much felt that Justin had earned the right to defend the T20 World Cup on home soil … but we understand and respect his decision."

A CA statement added: "Justin was offered a short-term extension to his current contract, which sadly he has opted not to accept.

"CA would like to thank Justin for his outstanding leadership since he became Australian men's team coach in 2018 and for guiding the team to the T20 World Cup title last year and the 4-0 Ashes victory.

"Justin is not only a legend of the game but an outstanding individual.

"The contract extension offered to Justin was the result of a thorough review process that evaluated many factors including future requirements of the team and the upcoming extensive schedule of fixtures.

"The extension was approved by the CA Board and was put to Justin last night. It included the opportunity to defend the T20 World Cup title in Australia at the end of this year.

"Justin informed CA this morning he was not accepting the offer and would resign with immediate effect."

Ricky Ponting described Justin Langer's departure as head coach as a "sad day" and said Cricket Australia's (CA) handling of the situation was "embarrassing".

The news of Langer's exit as Australia coach was confirmed by his management team DSEG and followed a lengthy meeting with CA late on Friday.

Ponting is a former a team-mate and long-time friend of Langer, and the Australia great criticised the way both he and former captain Tim Paine – who resigned just three weeks out from the Ashes amid the emergence of an investigation four years ago over explicit messages sent to a female co-worker -– have been treated by CA.

Speaking to ABC Radio, Ponting said: ""It is a really sad day as far as Australian cricket is concerned and if you look back it has been a really poor six months on the whole in the way that Cricket Australia has handled some of the better people in the Australian cricket - Justin Langer and Tim Paine - and I think it's been almost embarrassing the way they have handled those two cases.

"He mustn't have had the full backing of the board. Me knowing Justin the way that I do, he was very keen to continue in the role, as he should have been after what's been the best coaching period of his international career having just won the T20 World Cup and then the 4-0 result in the Ashes.

"It seems like a very strange time for a coach to be departing. Reading the tea leaves it sounds like a few - and as he [Langer] says to me a small group in the playing group and a couple of other staff around the team - haven't entirely loved the way he has gone about it.

"That's been enough to force a man who has put his life and heart and soul into Australian cricket and done a sensational job at turning around the culture and the way the Australian team has been looked at in the last few years to push him out of the job." 

Only John Buchanan has a better winning record among Australia coaches than Langer since 1985 when they began employing full-time head coaches.

Langer oversaw an Ashes drubbing of England in his final Test series, which followed immediately from T20 World Cup glory in the United Arab Emirates.

However, the latter triumph is said to have stemmed from a player-driven environment with Langer having agreed to take a more hands-off approach after receiving criticism following a home defeat to India in the 2020-21 Test series and subsequent white-ball losses to West Indies and Bangladesh.

Langer's intensity away from the pitch has been an apparent point of contention among some of the playing squad.

Ponting was asked whether Test skipper Pat Cummins was part of the dissenters and if he found that disappointing, to which he replied: "Justin is a great mate of mine and I know how passionate he is about the Australian coaching job.

"He wanted to continue on and be the best coach and have the best cricket team in the world.

"I think Pat also has been put in a difficult situation as captain, if it's not just him and it is other players coming to him and letting him know that maybe they think Justin is not the right man then that puts Pat in a difficult position as well.

"If he had got on the front foot and endorsed Justin they would not have been in a position to move him on.

"I am close to Justin, we are like brothers but I have not got too heavily involved in this, as much as giving him a pat on the back and put an arm around him here and there, there was no way I could change the way this was heading.

"What's happened today I've felt was coming for quite a while, even looking back before the T20 World Cup there was a lot of speculation there."

Justin Langer has stepped down as Australia head coach, effectively immediately.

Langer's management company, DSEG Worldwide, confirmed his resignation on Saturday.

It came after a marathon Cricket Australia board meeting on Friday, with the subject of Langer's future a priority for the directors.

The board will be turning its attention to a search for a replacement after Langer's successful, but turbulent spell in charge was brought to an end.

A statement from DSEG read: "DSEG confirms that our client Justin Langer has this morning tendered his resignation as of the Australian men's cricket team," the statement said. "The resignation follows a meeting with Cricket Australia last evening. The resignation is effective immediately."

Langer's manager, James Henderson, added on Twitter: "As a player Justin retired on top after a 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

"Today, despite the views of a faceless few, he finishes his time as Australian cricket coach winning the T20 World Cup and the Ashes. Lest we forget what JL took over in 2018."

Only John Buchanan has a better winning record among Australia coaches than Langer since 1985 when they began employing full-time head coaches.

His final Test series in charge saw Australia retain the Ashes with a 4-0 win over England, a triumph that followed a maiden T20 World Cup success in the United Arab Emirates.

However, that elusive piece of T20 glory was said to have stemmed from a player-driven environment, with Langer having received much criticism following home defeat to India in the 2020-21 Test series and subsequent white-ball losses to West Indies and Bangladesh.

With Langer's intensity away from the pitch the apparent key point of contention, he agreed to take a more hands-off approach in the wake of the humbling in Bangladesh.

That change in coaching style yielded an unexpected T20 world title, and there had been some thought Langer may keep his job after the crushing defeat of England.

However, Australia are now without a head coach three weeks before they depart for a Test tour of Pakistan. Andrew McDonald will likely take charge for that tour, the assistant coach having already been pencilled in to do so for the upcoming Twenty20 series with Sri Lanka to allow Langer a rest.

Chris Silverwood has been sacked as England's head coach following their dismal Ashes campaign, it has been confirmed.

An interim replacement will be appointed for the upcoming Test tour of the West Indies, which gets under way in Antigua on March 8. 

Silverwood's exit came a day after managing director of England men's cricket Ashley Giles left his post, with the decisions taken following an ECB review of performances in Australia. 

England succumbed to a 4-0 defeat to their Ashes rivals, with significant questions asked of their selections and batting. 

"During his time in the role, Chris has given absolutely everything to make a success of it. He is a man of great integrity, who players and staff alike have enjoyed working with," said ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. 

"Under Chris, England men's white ball teams have been ranked first and second in the world while he also led the Test team to a number of series wins including away in South Africa and Sri Lanka. 

"He has led the England men's team with great resilience and empathy through an incredibly challenging period for English cricket, and he deserves our sincere thanks and gratitude. 

"In the coming days Andrew Strauss will appoint a caretaker coach for the tour of the West Indies and will then consider the appropriate coaching structures to help England move forwards." 

Silverwood said: "It's been an absolute honour to be England head coach, and I'm extremely proud to have worked alongside our players and staff. I want to thank them all for the hard work and commitment they have given during my time in the role and I wish them all the very best moving forward. 

"The last two years have been very demanding but I have really enjoyed my time with the team and working with Rooty [Joe Root, Test captain] and Morgs [Eoin Morgan, white-ball captain], and I am very proud of this group considering the challenges. 

"I leave with fond memories and I am now looking forward to spending some quality time at home with my family and embracing the next chapter."

Silverwood had been in the role since October 2019, having replaced Cricket World Cup-winning coach Trevor Bayliss.

Chris Silverwood has been sacked as England's head coach following their dismal Ashes campaign, it has been confirmed.

Ashley Giles has left his position as the managing director of England men's cricket following a shambolic Ashes showing from the Test team. 

England's Ashes campaign was effectively over after just 12 days of cricket in Australia, with some woeful batting and questionable selections coming amid a 4-0 loss. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) met this week to review England's performances and Giles, who spent three years in his position, has been dispensed with. 

Head coach Chris Silverwood and batting coach Graeme Thorpe are also under pressure, with ECB chief executive Tom Harrison suggesting that large scale change is needed. 

"I'm extremely grateful to Ashley for his commitment and contribution to England men's cricket over the last three years," Harrison said in a statement. 

"Under his leadership the teams have scored some notable results, most memorably the dramatic victory in the 2019 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, while dealing with some of the most challenging times English cricket has ever been through. 

"He's highly respected throughout the game and has made a huge contribution to the ECB and England men's cricket. 

"Off the back of a disappointing men's Ashes this winter we must ensure we put in place the conditions across our game to enable our Test team to succeed." 

Giles said: "I'd like to thank everyone for the support they've given me, particularly all the staff and the players, as well as the board for giving me this opportunity. 

"The past couple of years have been incredibly challenging and I'm proud of what we've been able to deliver in the toughest of circumstances. This has undoubtedly protected the future of the game in England and Wales. 

"Despite these challenges, over the past three years, we have become 50-over world champions, the top ranked T20I side in the world, we remain the fourth-ranked Test team and our Under-19s have just reached the World Cup final for the first time in 24 years. I wish all our players and staff great success for the future. 

"I'm now looking forward to spending some time with my family before looking at the next challenge." 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and Apex Group have announced an extended partnership which will see Apex Group become the title sponsor of the three-match Apex Test Series between West Indies and England in March 2022.

Apex Group, a global provider of financial, sustainability and environmental services, will feature prominently on the global television broadcast, as well as prime pitch and wicket branding placements, and the Apex logo will also appear on the breast of the West Indies Test kit for the duration of the Apex Test Series. Apex will be granted access to the West Indies team for marketing activation and content and will deliver several sustainability initiatives involving the participation of West Indies players.

CWI’s and Apex Sustainability Partnership commenced in October 2021, ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with the Apex brand appearing on the West Indies’ ICC T20 World Cup shirt. Apex is providing sustainability and environmental advisory services over a three-year period as CWI’s Exclusive Sustainability Partner. By providing CWI with annual carbon footprint assessments, Apex will help lead the way in driving sustainability in cricket across the region by supporting CWI in creating an action plan to reduce and offset climate-altering outputs, including international travel.

The Apex Test Series will be played for the newly-minted Richards-Botham Trophy, named in honour of legends Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham. The Apex Test Series opens appropriately at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua from March 8-12, followed by the second Apex Test at Kensington Oval, Barbados from March 16-20. The third and final contest will be at the idyllic Grenada National Stadium from March 24-28. All three Apex Test matches are part of the ICC World Test Championship with both West Indies and England vying for points to challenge for qualification for the World Test Championship final in 2023.

“We’re delighted to build on our growing relationship with Apex for the upcoming Apex Test Series, which continues to be the most anticipated and highest-profile international sports event in the Caribbean,” said CWI CEO Johnny Grave.

“With the West Indies versus England Test rivalry dating back nearly one hundred years, this deeper partnership with Apex enables CWI to make cricket more sustainable as we move towards a second century of West Indies cricket and build the next generation of cricketers across the Caribbean.”

Meanwhile, Peter Hughes, Founder and CEO of Apex Group said this is an important partnership for his company.

“Following a challenging two years for sport, we are pleased to be a part of the return of International Test Cricket hosted in the West Indies,” he said.

“This is an important partnership for us, as we look forward to further leveraging the combined global platform Apex Group and the West Indies represent, to raise awareness for driving greater environmental sustainability in the sport; for fans, players and future generations.”

Heather Knight and Meg Lanning reflected on a remarkable finish to the only women's Ashes Test as England and Australia were forced to settle for a draw in Canberra.

That had appeared the most likely result heading into the final day's play, with Australia seemingly set to bat out the match and settle for two points – an outcome that forces England to win all three ODIs in order to win back the Ashes.

The same scenario was reached in far more dramatic fashion, however, as Lanning went on the offensive and declared, setting England 257 to win.

The tourists fell 12 agonising runs short in the narrowest draw in a women's Test having also set a fourth-innings record in making 245-9.

But by stumps, England were a little grateful not to have been beaten, as momentum swung back and forth on a chaotic day that saw Australia collect nine wickets in the final session.

Two of those dismissals came particularly late when England seemed set for a stunning success. They required 13 from 15 but lost two wickets for only a single run in a nail-biting finale.

"I'm really pleased with the fact that we got close," captain Knight said. "The psychology changed a little bit, we were giving it a go, and we were suddenly favourites.

"It was probably an opportunity missed, I think we'll reflect on this. But I think we'll look back and think, 'what a game to be involved in'.

"We went toe to toe with the Aussies and we're still in the series, which is the main thing."

Lanning, the Australia skipper, said: "I still don't quite know what happened in that last hour. We declared wanting to take 10 wickets, and England batted extremely well.

"But to fight back like that, I'm very proud of the group, to be able to get back into the game and get pretty close."

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