Born on September 21, 1963, in Swetes, Antigua, Curtly Ambrose was the fourth child in a family of seven. His father, a village carpenter, had no cricket background, but his mother was a fervent fan of the sport.
In his youth, Ambrose primarily played as a batsman. In school, Ambrose excelled academically, particularly in mathematics and French.
At the age of 17, he embarked on an apprenticeship as a carpenter. Considered briefly the idea of emigrating to America. Surprisingly, his favorite sport was basketball. Occasionally, he even umpired cricket matches.
Key Takeaways from Curtly Ambrose's Cricket Career:Hide
- Curtly Ambrose had a remarkable international cricket career from 1988 to 2000, representing the West Indies in Tests and ODIs.
- He made his debut in both Test and ODI cricket against Pakistan in 1988, leaving a lasting impact on the sport.
- Ambrose's notable achievements include multiple instances of taking 10 wickets in a Test match and scoring 1 half-century in ODIs.
- His impressive fielding skills were evident with 18 catches in Test matches and 45 catches in ODIs.
- Ambrose transitioned into coaching in 2022, becoming the bowling coach for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the CPL, showcasing his commitment to the sport's growth.
- His international career had its ups and downs, marked by outstanding performances, temporary setbacks, and comebacks.
- Curtly Ambrose's legacy extends beyond his playing days, as he continues to contribute to cricket as a coach and mentor.
Curtly Ambrose: A Remarkable Growth Spurt & A Turning Point in Softball Cricket
Ambrose wasn’t particularly tall until his late teens, when he experienced a dramatic growth spurt, reaching an impressive height of 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m).
It was during this period that his mother, a cricket enthusiast, encouraged him to get more involved in the sport.
A significant turning point occurred when Ambrose showcased his fast bowling skills in a softball cricket match.
Impressed by his talent, he decided to join some club matches at the age of 20, where he quickly caught the attention of coaches and made his way into the St. John’s cricket team.
A Bumpy Start and a Viv Richards Scholarship
Ambrose’s journey had its share of setbacks. Despite making his first-class debut for the Leeward Islands in 1985–86, he struggled to secure a spot the following year. Fortunately, a Viv Richards scholarship came to his rescue.
Curtly Ambrose A Transformation in England
Ambrose used the scholarship to play club cricket in England, representing Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club in the Liverpool Competition during 1986.
There, he took a staggering 84 wickets at an average of 9.80. The following year, he returned to England to play for Heywood Cricket Club in the Central Lancashire League, where he astonishingly claimed 115 wickets, honing his bowling technique along the way.
The Return to Antigua and a New Beginning
Upon his return to Antigua, Ambrose’s dedication and hard work knew no bounds. He reclaimed his place in the Leeward Islands team and became the main attacking bowler in the absence of key bowlers.
In the first match, he faced a no-ball controversy, later attributed to a unique wrist flick that added extra pace to his deliveries, but there were no further doubts about his action.
Dominance and the Deadly Yorker
Ambrose’s comeback was nothing short of dominant. Taking 35 wickets, including a phenomenal 12 in a single match against Guyana, of which nine were bowled, his performance left a resounding mark.
Wisden’s report on the West Indian season praised his unwavering pace, accuracy, and insatiable hunger for wickets.
The yorker emerged as his most lethal weapon, ensuring that Ambrose never lost his edge on the cricket field.
International Bowler: Debut and First Years
In 1988, when Pakistan faced the West Indies, Curtly Ambrose stepped in for the retired Joel Garner.
His ODI debut in Kingston, Jamaica saw him take four wickets, setting the stage for a remarkable start. The series was won in style with Ambrose contributing consistently.
Despite a less impressive start in the Test series, Ambrose showed improvement as he gained experience. His performance was described as “unimpressive” initially, but he steadily became a potent force.
In the tour of England, he took 22 wickets across five Tests, earning accolades for his menacing bounce. Ambrose shone in the Sharjah ODI tournament, taking eight wickets and helping West Indies clinch victory.
His tour of Australia was a turning point, where his height and bounce made him a relentless threat. He led the team’s bowling attack, securing 26 wickets in the Test series and 21 in the ODI tournament.
Facing fatigue and illness in 1989 against India, Ambrose struggled, taking only five wickets in the four-Test series. This period posed a temporary setback in his otherwise impressive international career.
Sir Curtly Ambrose: Shoulder Injury
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When did Curtly Ambrose make his international cricket debut?
Curtly Ambrose made his international cricket debut in Test matches on April 2, 1988, against Pakistan and in One Day Internationals (ODIs) on March 12, 1988, also against Pakistan.
What are some of Curtly Ambrose's notable achievements in cricket?
Curtly Ambrose achieved remarkable milestones, including 3 times taking 10 wickets in a Test match and scoring 1 half-century in ODIs. He was known for his lethal bowling and impressive fielding skills.
How did Curtly Ambrose transition from a legendary fast bowler to a coach?
In January 2022, Curtly Ambrose began his coaching career with the Jamaica Tallawahs for the CPL 2022 edition. He seamlessly transitioned from a legendary bowler to a strategic coach, aiming to enhance the team’s performance.