Stuart Broad says his biggest frustration over England's Ashes failure is the feeling that he has "not really done anything" in Australia.

Australia retained the urn less than halfway through the series when they hammered England by an innings and 14 runs in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

Broad was dropped in Melbourne, having taken two wickets in an emphatic 275-run thrashing at the Adelaide Oval after he and James Anderson were surprisingly omitted for the nine-wicket defeat in the first match of the series at the Gabba.

The 35-year-old has expressed his frustration over being omitted twice as the wounded tourists prepare for the fourth Test at the SCG, which starts on Wednesday.

"As a wobble-seam bowler, I feel as though I missed out on two of the best wobble-seam pitches in Australia," Broad wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

"Only playing once has made this a very disappointing trip, one that has not met my personal expectations.

"The biggest frustration is losing the Ashes, being 3-0 down and feeling like I've not really done anything. Not being able, as an experienced player, to influence a series while it's live is tough.

"But that is top-flight sport, and I am not the only one who will feel this way. Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow, guys who have played one or two games will feel the same, and it's part and parcel of touring."

Broad says he still has the desire to play for his country in the longest format despite such a painful tour.

He added: "Has it affected my hunger to play Test cricket? No. Looking at things pragmatically, I would argue that I won't get a better chance to take wickets than at Brisbane and Melbourne. But I must be ready for my next opportunity, whether that be in Sydney, Hobart or beyond.

"There is a long time between now and the tour of the Caribbean in March and I have never been one to make emotional decisions. So I'm not going to make any spur of the moment calls on my future.

"I feel fit, I've come back from the calf injury feeling strong and I'm taking wickets in the nets. That's all I can do given the lack of tour games and the tight schedule."

England have spent long periods in bio-secure bubbles during the coronavirus pandemic and Broad says the players are feeling the impact of restrictions imposed on them.

He continued. "This tour has taken its toll on all of us. Without sounding like making excuses, we may be at the end of our mental tether with Covid.

"We are the only team that has played solid international cricket throughout the pandemic and our multi-format guys had already done 50 days in a bubble before they turned up here.

"We spent day two of the Boxing Day Test match testing for Covid and having guys moving out of their hotel rooms, away from their families, so they were no longer classed as close contacts.

"When you are faffing about with external stuff like that, it drags your focus away from where it needs to be."

Under-pressure England head coach Chris Silverwood will be absent for the fourth Test in Sydney, having tested positive for coronavirus while he was already in isolation due to what was a seventh positive COVID-19 case in the touring party. 

England head coach Chris Silverwood has tested positive for COVID-19 during his team's dismal Ashes tour.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed Silverwood, who was already due to miss the fourth Test, had joined the number of positive cases in and around the team camp.

It emerged after the Melbourne Boxing Day Test that a member of Silverwood's family had tested positive.

That set up the possibility that Silverwood himself may have come into sufficiently close contact to be infected.

Silverwood was forced to isolate, ruling him out of the Sydney Cricket Ground clash with Australia, which begins Down Under on Wednesday. Now, a positive test means he must wait to rejoin the team.

England are expecting him to be available again to take the reins for the series closer in Hobart, starting on January 14. In the meantime, batting coach Graham Thorpe is stepping up to direct team operations.

In a widely reported statement, the ECB said: "England men's head coach Chris Silverwood has tested positive for COVID-19.

"Silverwood has been isolating in Melbourne since December 30 following a positive test from one of his family members. He will remain in isolation until January 8.

"Silverwood is asymptomatic and is fully vaccinated. He is expected to return to the England party in Hobart ahead of the fifth Ashes Test."

The news comes after England great Graham Gooch expressed dismay at England's inability to be competitive in Australia.

They have already lost the series, after suffering heavy defeats in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, with Silverwood's position coming under scrutiny.

Speaking to Stats Perform, former captain and opener Gooch said: "I'm bitterly disappointed because losing a Test match is one thing, losing a series is one thing.

"But, what's really concerning for me is the lack of competitiveness of our team against Australia not only in the match at Melbourne, but in the previous two matches. 

"They've outplayed us, out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded us in all three Tests, in most of the sessions.

"We've had a couple of half sessions, which we've done well with Joe Root and Dawid Malan scoring a few runs, Jimmy Anderson bowling a brilliant spell to help England dismiss Australia at the MCG for 267. But apart from that, we've been lacking."

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon says there are no dead rubbers as Australia chases a 5-0 whitewash of England in the 2021-22 Ashes.

Australia leads the series 3-0 after three dominant victories ahead of the fourth Ashes Test starting on Wednesday at the SCG.

There has been speculation about the make-up of the Australian side given they have already secured a series victory with dilemmas on Josh Hazlewood's fitness and Scott Boland's place along with talk of a second spinner in Mitch Swepson.

Lyon, who has taken 12 wickets in the three Tests, insisted Australia were determined to pursue victory and pick the best side possible.

"There's no more dead rubbers - and I've never considered them when you wear a baggy green - firstly because there's the World Test Championship and we want to go 5-0 up," Lyon told reporters on Sunday.

"If the conditions suit then we pick the best team to win that Test to make sure we keep moving forward. The Ashes for me is the pinnacle but I'd love to be part of a Test Championship final to state our case for the number one team in the world."

Australia missed out on the World Test Championship final last year, finishing third behind winners New Zealand and India. The Aussies have won the past two Ashes on home soil 4-0 and 5-0 respectively.

Lyon endorsed fellow spinner Swepson, who is set to get Test opportunities in 2022 with tours of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India to come.

"I love bowling in partnership with spinners for sure," Lyon said. "I've done it a lot in subcontinent conditions so if the opportunity does come to play two spinners I know we'll really enjoy building that partnership. We've been doing it in the nets but it's a lot different."

Hazlewood, who has missed the past two Tests with a side injury, is expected to train fully with the group on Monday and could replace Boland who took 7-6 in the second innings of the third Test.

England star Jos Buttler insisted that he has no intentions to retire from Test cricket despite a crushing Ashes series loss to Australia.

Buttler declared he would play without fear ahead of his first red-ball series Down Under but has since mustered just 96 runs from the opening three outings, averaging just 19.2 against Pat Cummins' relentless bowling attack.

The wicketkeeper is not the only England batter to have struggled, given Chris Silverwood's side have already succumbed to a series defeat against Australia before a ball has even been bowled in the penultimate Test in Sydney.

After Quinton de Kock announced he was hanging up his South Africa whites to focus on his young family and limited-overs cricket, questions were raised whether the multi-format Buttler would follow suit and arrive at a similar conclusion.

But 31-year-old knocked back those suggestions on Saturday as he expressed his commitment to the longest form of the game, despite England's beleaguered Test team struggling recently.

He responded to reporters questioning his plans to continue playing red-ball cricket: "It's certainly my ambition. I don't think I'd have put as much into it as I have done if it wasn't.

"I have fantastic family support – they're very supportive of me and my career, and make a lot of sacrifices for that. It's certainly maintained my drive and ambition to try and play [Test cricket]."

 

He added: "That's Quinton's own personal situation. As a huge fan of his, I'm disappointed that he's at that stage. I love watching him bat, keep wicket and play Test cricket. 

"I commend him for making a decision that's right for him. But I feel I've got that support and in a place where I want to try to make it work."

Amid speculation over Silverwood's future following another thrashing to the old enemy Australia, Buttler and his team-mates now have the chance to prove their worth in the final two Tests in early January.

And Buttler reassured that all of the England camp are pulling in the same direction as they look to play for pride with their series out of their reach.

"One thing is we're massively in it all together," he continued. "We live it all together and we want to play well for each other. It's frustrating for Chris he's not here with us [due to COVID-19] – another complication of the tour – but we're certainly very united.

"There is an overriding sense of disappointment and frustration with the situation we've found ourselves in. We certainly don’t want to be a team to lose 5-0."

England have a chance to right some of their wrongs when they next challenge Australia on Tuesday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Only so much of the blame for England's poor Ashes series can lie with captain Joe Root, according to former skipper Graham Gooch.

Australia have already retained the Ashes with two Tests to spare, having established an unassailable 3-0 lead, dominating the opening three matches in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.

Root has been one of the only England batters to perform well, going on to become the leading run-scorer as the nation's Test captain, a role he has fulfilled since 2017.

He will lead England out for a record 60th time in the fourth Test in Sydney, overtaking Alastair Cook's tally of 59, while 26 per cent of all the team's runs were scored by Root in 2021, with the Yorkshireman plundering 1,708 in total.

However, England have averaged just 187.5 with the bat in six innings, failing to score more than 300 in any of the first three Tests down under, and Root's leadership abilities have come under scrutiny.

But after Chris Woakes backed the 31-year-old to stay on, Gooch has also offered his support to Root, but suggested the skipper may need to take a more realistic view on his team's scenario.

"I like Joe a lot. He's a brilliant player; a world-class player. He's not a bad captain; I don't think it’s his fault," Gooch, who scored 8,900 Test runs for England between 1975 and 1995, told Stats Perform.

"But to keep saying we’re close to Australia, that we can feel it coming, and one good session or one good day is going to turn it around. I don't think that’s going to wash really. We've been comprehensively beaten.

"I think it's a bit galling for us ex-pros and captains to hear."

Gooch, fourth on the all-time list for runs scored as England's Test captain, also paid tribute to the victorious Australia, whose strong displays he feels have played a major part in the tourists' slump.

Asked whether he believed the outcome of the Series was down to the hosts' performances or a poor showing by England, he said: "I think it's a bit of both.

"I think you've got Australia doing what they do best. They're aggressive, they're ruthless. If they smell blood, they capitalise on it.

"It's not because England have been so poor; they have not allowed England to be successful."

Former West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman, Denesh Ramdin, is now under new management after signing with Sophie Claire Management.

Ramdin was a member of the West Indies T20 World Cup sides in 2012 and 2016.  Claire reacted to the signing on her Instagram page.

“Two-time World Cup T20 winning wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin. It is a privilege to work with people you admire for all their accomplishments,” she said.

The Trinidadian is a former West Indies captain at both the Under-19 and senior levels and holds the West Indies wicketkeeping record for most T20 dismissals.

The 36-year-old scored 2898 runs in 74 Test matches at an average of 25.87 for the West Indies with four centuries and 15 fifties with his highest score of 166 coming against England in 2009.

In 139 ODIs, Ramdin scored 2200 runs at an average of 25.00 with two centuries and eight fifties with a highest score of 169 against Bangladesh in 2014.

He also represented the West Indies in 71 T20 Internationals scoring 636 runs at an average of 18.70 with one half-century

 

England's lack of competitiveness during the ongoing Ashes series is a cause for huge concern, according to former opening batsman Graham Gooch.

Australia have already retained the Ashes with two Tests to spare, having established an unassailable 3-0 lead.

The hosts have taken full advantage against their lacklustre opponents, dominating the opening three Tests in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.

Gooch, who scored 8,900 Test runs for England between 1975 and 1995, expressed his disappointment with the visitors’ performances thus far.

And he feels it is the manner of the defeats sparks the biggest cause for concern.

"I'm bitterly disappointed because losing a Test match is one thing, losing a series is one thing," he told Stats Perform. 

"But, what's really concerning for me is the lack of competitiveness of our team against Australia not only in the match at Melbourne, but in the previous two matches. 

"They've outplayed us, out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded us in all three Tests, in most of the sessions. 

"We've had a couple of half sessions, which we've done well with Joe Root and Dawid Malan scoring a few runs, Jimmy Anderson bowling a brilliant spell to help England dismiss Australia at the MCG for 267. 

"But apart from that, we've been lacking."

Gooch also refused to point the finger of blame at squad selection, insisting England undoubtedly have the resources to produce the goods.

"I don't think you can argue with the selection as a squad. They've got the squad there," he added. "I can't see any glaring errors. 

"The only thing you possibly could do is you could revisit some of the players that you've had in the past and say: 'are they better than some of these younger ones?'

"You can never argue against putting youth in the team because that's your future if they come in, and they do quite well, hopefully you've got a player for, let's say, a decade."

West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer has failed yet another fitness test, a situation that has left West Indies head coach Phil Simmons exasperated.

Hetmyer was left out of the team for the upcoming visits of Ireland and England after failing to pass fitness drills administered in his home country of Guyana recently.

The occasion is the third in the last three years that the athlete is failing to get a passing grade for the West Indies basic fitness requirement.  Hetmyer was first left out of the squad in 2020, ahead of the Sri Lanka tour, and then again later that year during the home visit of the same team.

Simmons expressed frustration that Hetmyer was not only letting down himself but failing to maintain the required standards but also the entire team.

 “It’s the same old, same old. He did his fitness assessment in Guyana and he came way below the required mark,” Simmons told members of the media during a conference call on Friday.

 “Again, it is something that is heart-wrenching because you know that you are part of this team, and you have to keep a certain fitness to be part of this team and you keep letting down your teammates.”

Simmons added the player was also “letting down himself.”

 

Ireland cricketers Paul Stirling and Shane Getkate will not travel from the United States with the rest of the team to Jamaica for the upcoming series against the West Indies after testing positive for Covid-19.

Following a final round of PCR tests ahead of the team’s departure on Friday, the duo returned positive tests and will undergo a period of 10 days of isolation.  As a result, it is likely that the pair will not join up with the rest of the team until January 9, depending on the status of follow-up procedures.

The West Indies are scheduled to play Ireland in three One Day Internationals and a one-off T20 match, beginning on January 8.

Richard Holdsworth, High-Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, admits that the period continues to be challenging, particularly when trying to balance the physical health of players with their mental well-being.

"It is a challenging time for all, but the players have responded very well to operating within the Managed Environment over the last two weeks. A Managed Environment is different to a bio-bubble, and is an approach being used currently to try and find that balance between risk mitigation from the virus and impacts of sustained periods of isolation on the mental and physical health needs of players and staff.”

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) interim selection panel has announced the squads for the upcoming series against Ireland and England.

Captain Kieron Pollard is fit again and returns to lead both the ODI and T20 sides that will battle the Irish in three ODIs and one T20I at Sabina Park, in Jamaica, starting January 8.

The CG Insurance ODI Series between West Indies and Ireland will form part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, in which the top seven teams can secure automatic qualification for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India.

The West Indies are currently eighth in those standings with 40 points, while Ireland sits fourth with 50.

The Caribbean side will then play five T20 Internationals against England, in Barbados, beginning on January 22.

“We have tried to maintain the general make-up of the squads from the Pakistan tour before Christmas, with the captain and some senior players coming back in. The challenges in the next couple of months are getting the young players in both squads to not only improve on their skills but maintain the attitude and desire we saw in Pakistan,” said West Indies coach Phil Simmons.

Simmons also emphasized the need for his team to start the year on a good note.

“We do need to start the year on a high. We know both Ireland and England have very good teams so we expect a very strong challenge as we look to improve our chances of automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023 and building the team for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2022,” Simmons added.

ODI squad for the Ireland Series: Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope (vice-captain), Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Justin Greaves, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Jayden Seales, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Devon Thomas, and the COVID-19 reserves are Keacy Carty and Sheldon Cottrell.

T20I squad for Ireland and England Series: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen (England T20Is only), Darren Bravo (England T20Is only), Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Jason Holder, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr, and the COVID-19 reserves are Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph, and Devon Thomas.

Fabian Allen is fully recovered from an ankle injury but is unavailable for the Ireland series after a positive COVID-19 test.

South Africa Under-19s secured a one-wicket win over West Indies Under-19s to take a 2-1 series lead in their four-match Youth ODI Series in St. Vincent, on Thursday, thanks to a solid all-round effort from Liam Alder.

In the match played at the Cumberland Playing Field, West Indies Under 19s won the toss for the third consecutive game and chose to bat after electing to field in the two previous matches.

They struggled throughout their innings, eventually capitulating for 106 in 38.3 overs.

Opener Shaqkere Parris top-scored for the young Windies with 27 and the only other batsmen to reach double figures were Teddy Bishop, who got 26, and vice-captain Giovonte Depeiza who got 22.

Hardus Coetzer and Dewald Brevis each took three wickets for the South Africans while Asakhe Tsaka and Alder took two apiece.

The South Africans then made a meal of their modest target of 107, being 90-8 at one stage before getting to 113-9 in 18.3 overs to win by one wicket thanks to 24 not out from Alder, batting at number nine, which included two sixes.

Opener Ethan Cunningham top-scored with 25 for South Africa U19s.

Off-spinner Onaje Amory almost produced a match-winning spell with 4 for 8 from his four overs, while Johann Layne and Matthew Nandu got two wickets each.

The fourth and final game of the series will be played on Monday at Arnos Vale.

 

Australian batsman Travis Head has been ruled out of the fourth Ashes Test and returning a positive test for Covid-19.

Cricket Australia confirmed that the 28-year-old is asymptomatic and will not fly with the squad to Sydney on Friday for the fourth Ashes Test due to start at the SCG on January 5.

The remainder of the Australian squad, their families and the team's support staff have undergone PCR and RAT tests on Friday and are still planning to travel to Sydney on Friday.

A Cricket Australia spokesperson said: “As part of our testing procedures, we are PCR testing players, their families and our support staff daily. Unfortunately, Travis returned a positive Covid-19 result earlier today. Thankfully, he is asymptomatic at this stage. We anticipate that he will be available to play in the fifth men’s Ashes Test in Hobart.

“We are grateful to our exceptional medical staff for all the work they have done throughout this series and we will continue to work with and support the players, their families and staff from both teams.”

Mitchell Marsh, Nic Maddinson and Josh Inglis have joined the Australian squad as additional cover as a precautionary measure, although Usman Khawaja appears most likely to replace Head in the XI.

On Friday, there was a huge jump in confirmed Covid-19 cases in Sydney, were the fourth Test will be played, with 21,151 infections diagnosed up from 12,226 on Thursday.

The Boxing Day Test earlier this week was jeopardized after positive cases within the England camp, while Third Test match referee David Boon tested positive on Thursday.

Australia captain Pat Cummins missed the second Test in Adelaide after being a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case.

Head becomes the first player to miss a Test in the Ashes series due to testing positive as Covid-19 closes in on the series.

West Indies Women’s all-rounder, Hayley Matthews, is part of a three-woman shortlist nominated for the ICC One Day International (ODI) Female Cricket of the Year award.

The past year saw the talented 23-year-old put in brilliant performances with both the bat and ball.  In 14 matches Matthews scored 380 runs at an average of 29.23, with one century and one half-century.  She claimed 18 wickets at an average of 22.44 and had an economy rate of 3.33.

Matthews was named Player of the Series when the West Indies Women faced Pakistan in a five-match ODI series in July.  She scored 168 runs, which included a century, and took seven wickets in a series that the Caribbean team won 3-2.

The player was not as impressive against South Africa but returned to full form in the following series against Pakistan.  Matthews started the series with a half-century and three wickets in the first ODI and followed that up with a four-wicket haul in the second game.  The all-rounder ended the series with a knock of 49 in the final match, which helped her side complete a whitewash.

Also in contention for the award are Pakistan’s Fatima Sana, and England’s Tammy Beaumont.

The Ashes series match referee David Boon has tested positive for COVID-19, Cricket Australia has confirmed.

Boon will now miss the fourth Test, starting on January 5, but is expected to return to take charge of the fifth Test nine days later.

The official is fully vaccinated – including a booster shot – and is asymptomatic. He will quarantine in Melbourne for 10 days before travelling to Hobart, where the final Test is set to be held.

Steve Bernard will serve as the referee in Boon's absence.

Boon is not the only person to miss out on the fourth Test, with England coach Chris Silverwood finding himself in the same position after a close contact contracted coronavirus.

There were four positive COVID-19 cases in the England camp on the second day of the third Test, but none of the players were affected.

Australia have already secured the Ashes, having won each of the first three Tests comfortably to move into an unassailable 3-0 series lead.

A grand send-off for legendary Windies T20 star, Chris Gayle, will be played in front of an empty Sabina Park as the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) was not granted permission to allow spectators for the event by the Jamaican government.

With the recent surge in coronavirus infections, and particularly with the threat posed by the new omicron strain, the government under the Disaster Risk Management act, has continued to restrict gatherings.

Gayle, the leading runs scorer in the history of T20 cricket and widely regarded as one of the format’s greatest players was widely expected to retire following the team’s disappointing showing at this year’s T20 World Cup.  However, following the conclusion of the tournament, the player announced that it was possible that he would feature in one more match, which would serve as a farewell event. 

A few weeks ago, Cricket West Indies (CWI) confirmed that the player would be a part of the T20 squad for the upcoming match against Ireland at Sabina Park.  As such, CWI and the JCA were hoping to have fans present for the event.  Gayle has been part of two World Cup-winning teams for the West Indies.   

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