Curtly Ambrose, or rather Sir Curtly Ambrose. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see or read about the former West Indian fast bowler? Imposing presence? Outrageous skills? Sustained hostility and aggression? A once-in-a-century bowler?
Well! Sir Curtly Ambrose is an amalgamation of all the aforementioned adjectives and perhaps a lot more.
Ambrose was also a testification of the fact one doesn’t need to hurl abuses or engage in having verbal jibes with the batsman and if you have that burning inbuilt aggression within you coupled with the prodigious talent of making a ’22 ounce’ talk, its more than enough to get under the skin of the batsman.
“If you are good enough at what you do, you let the five and a half ounces (the cricket ball) do the talking for you. If you keep sledging, you probably aren’t any good. That wasn’t the West Indian way. Five and half ounces coming at you at 90mph is more than enough!” Curtly Ambrose told Michael Atherton during a Sky Sports Podcast.
“I don’t think you can teach a bowler to be aggressive”- Curtly Ambrose
Aggression- not sledging- is one of the key assets for any fast bowler and Ambrose reckoned that it is something that you can’t teach a bowler as it comes in-built.
The legendary fast bowler revealed how Sir Andy Roberts advised him to embrace his aggression, something that he has always been a part of his personality.
“I don’t think you can teach a bowler to be aggressive – it has to be something within you. You can try but if a bowler doesn’t have it inside of him, it probably won’t work. For me it worked because I am naturally aggressive while I am competing. It naturally flowed for me.” Ambrose added.
“One of the things he mentioned to me was to always be aggressive, to always get under the skin of batsmen. That stuck in my mind coming from a great man like him,” the legendary fast bowler recalled.
‘I am a proud person and wanted to be the best I can be’- Curtly Ambrose
Ambrose came into the West Indian side at a time when it was loaded with superstar bowlers like the late, great Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Patrick Patterson.
But, a proud man that Ambrose is, he never wanted himself to be called as the ‘second-best’. And, he ensured he never was!
“When I first made the West Indies team alongside the late, great Malcolm Marshall, as well as Courtney Walsh and Patrick Patterson, I never wanted to be second. I am a proud person and wanted to be the best I can be,” said Ambrose.
“I quickly realized for most opposition teams they were probably thinking ‘Curtly is a rookie, so just see off Marshall, Walsh and Patterson’ I never wanted that and I was forced to learn quickly so I wouldn’t be the weak link in the chain. Because of my pride, that catapulted me to stardom.” Ambrose signed off.
Curtly Ambrose called time on his international career at the turn of the century after having taken who claimed 405 Test wickets in 98 Tests at an astounding average of 20.99.