Of all the legendary West Indian pace bowlers, he surely was the most lethal one. Measuring 6 foot 7 inches, supple wrist action, an agility in movement, Curtly Ambrose would had fit just fine in the game of Basketball (every Caribbean boy’s American dream). But, destiny had some other plans for this giant.
Curtly Ambrose: One of Caribbean’s gift to cricket
Sporting a high arm action that looks as immaculate as the shine of the Caribbean sun, Curtly Ambrose started his international cricket career in 1988. The man was renowned for his swinging and bouncing deliveries in the domestic circuit and thus his first of the years in One Day Internationals went on a positive note. But the bowler couldn’t generate much heat in the tests of those times.
However, his shortcomings in the tests warded off quickly and in just a matter of some months he got himself the Wisden title of a ‘Ready-made replacement for Garner’. The following years saw him taking over the cricketing world as some sort of menace, all thanks to his enormous bounce on the pitch.
Curtly Ambrose in a total of 98 test matches got himself 405 wickets that also made him top the ICC Player Ranking table for the major portion of his career. The player has to his record the best bowling figure of 8/45 in tests, which he achieved on 10th April 1990.
Probably the best test of his life (April 5-10, 1990)
It was the 4th test of the Wisden Trophy between West Indies and England. West Indies with a strong batting line-up of Greenidge, CA Best and Richardson set up the challenge of 446 runs in the first innings. In response, the English team was only able to manage a score of 358 runs. The prime dismantler of the English innings was Ian Bishop who took 4 wickets. Ambrose in this stint could dismiss only 2 batsmen.
However, the best of him was seen in the second innings when England was chasing a final target of 356 runs to win the match on the 5th day. In 22.4 overs, Ambrose single-handedly uprooted the English batting line up and earned his career best bowling spell of 8/45 in test cricket. This brought West Indies a handsome win of 164 runs.
(Feature image courtesy: thecrickblog.com)