Ambrose bemoans state of WI fast bowling
WEST?INDIES fast-bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has bemoaned the inability of the region’s pace bowlers to maintain a consistent line and length and he fears the current crop of bowlers are not strong enough.
Speaking on the Mason and Guest Radio Cricket Show on the StarCom Network last night, Ambrose said he was disappointed with the performance of the West Indies team in recent years.
“I have been disappointed for many years,” he said. “I kept hearing that we have a bunch of young guys and they are going to develop . . . [but] I am just amazed that we are still in this slot because this can’t be about developing players now, not at international level,” he contended.
“We develop players from youth level through the ranks. Once you get to the Test level, you can’t be about developing.
“Other countries have had younger players coming in and making a mark at international cricket. We are the only country that is not doing it, so something has to be definitely wrong with our cricket.”
Ambrose made it clear the Windies’ woes have little to do with ability or talent.
“We have it. From time to time, we see glimpses of natural talent, but not the consistency, so something is wrong.
“I see guys getting out the same way in nearly every game. Bowlers can hardly put the ball in the right areas consistently, so something is wrong with our cricket,” he asserted.
Ambrose, who captured 405 wickets in 98 Tests at an impressive average of 20.99, said he believes the West Indian bowlers “are missing a key ingredient in fast bowling [which is] to be able to consistently bowl a good length and line.”
“Consistency. That is the basic of fast bowling. Forget about swing, seam, pace and all that stuff. If you can’t get the ball in the right areas consistently, everything else is a waste of time. That is the first thing our bowlers need to learn,” he affirmed.
Ambrose also gave his views of some of the current West Indies fast bowlers.
He said that although Tino Best “is a hard worker” he is still inconsistent.
“[He’s] fit; he’s strong and he’s got pace but he is still very inconsistent and that is the problem, and I can’t understand why Tino up to [now] is still having that problem.”
Of Shannon Gabriel, Ambrose said he is “still a young man learning the art”.
“He’s not very rhythmic; he’s a strong kind of bowler. He’s got pace but I think our coaches seriously need to work with these guys a lot more.”
Ambrose said Ravi Rampaul has been “very steady” but is injury-prone.
“He is not overly quick. He has always been steady in the right areas. He has a knack of getting wickets early as well but injuries tend to play a big part with Rampaul.
“Whenever he’s not playing, he tends to put on weight quite easily, but to be fair to him, he is one of those guys who can put the ball in the right areas consistently,” Ambrose said.
He added that Sheldon Cottrell, as a left-armer with pace “can be an asset once he gets the proper guidance”, while Kemar Roach was “a shining light” recently but is now on the injured list.
He also assessed the out-of-favour Fidel Edwards.
“Fidel has got natural pace and he swings the ball as well, which is an asset for any fast bowler. The problem I have with Fidel – and it goes for most of the fast bowlers as well – they can’t seem to stay in the park. Every couple of games they are injured. Why?
“I am not so sure, but I just believe these guys are not strong enough,” he contended.
However, Ambrose felt that all wasn’t lost for West Indies’ cricket.
“I don’t think the cupboard is as bare as people make out.
We still [have] got quite fast bowlers in the region who I believe can make the grade but I just think [they need] some proper guidance.
“We need some guys to work with them for an extended period. It is very difficult to work with a fast bowler during a tournament and get the best out of him.
“We need to work with these guys outside of tournaments to get them to understand the basics of fast bowling,” he said.