Curtly Bowling

Curtly Elconn Lynwall Ambrose

Born: September 21st 1963

Place of Birth: Swetes Village Antigua, West Indies

Height: 6' 7" (2.01 m)

Test debut: Georgetown, Guyana against Pakistan in April 1988.

As a boy, I never really liked cricket, and I was definitely not a fan of the game. My favourite sports were basketball and football. Cricket was too long and took up a lot of energy so it was never on my list. In fact you could go as far as to say I avoided it.

I used to play tennis ball cricket on the beach and had a good time with my friends, even sometimes playing a game with the boys in my village, Swetes, but that was just for fun, however I played in school and sometimes for my village when pressed to do so.

Through this, other folk thought I could play the proper version of the game. I was always tall and they felt I could make it but as I said I only played at school, because people pushed me into it.

My first proper game was representing Swetes, my village, in the national league at the age of 21 which in some people's minds is a late start, but I like to tell people - I chose my time correctly. I was and still am, a very proud man and anything I do I made sure I do it well and put my all in to it, so when I had to play cricket, I gave 100 per cent. It was the right time for me to do that and I did it well and it paid off. My career took off like a rocket. In 1984 I was playing for Swetes, in 1985 I was playing for Antigua and Barbuda, then by 1986 I was picked for the Leeward Islands, alongside Richie Richardson, Viv Richards, Winston Benjamin, Eldine Baptiste who have all represented the West Indies.

By 1988 I was in the West Indies team.

It was a great experience playing for the best team in the world alongside great men like Captain Viv Richards, Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge Malcolm Marshall and Courtney Walsh. Maco was the top bowler in the world at that time and Courtney Walsh was making a name for himself so I didn't want to be the weak link therefore I had to learn very fast. I was known as the "other guy" amongst those world-beating bowlers and it forced me to improve quickly. I learned a lot from Maco and Walsh who were really helpful in getting me to adjust to International cricket.

I was called an aggressive and mean bowler by many and they were right, but even in the intensely competitive world of international sports, it's possible to triumph with grace, honour and courage. No one could question the whole-hearted effort that I put in. I was totally committed to the job I had the honour to do. I have always been unselfish, and care about fellow cricketers, being a shrewd observer, picking up the little tricks of the trade from whoever I could learn from. I believed and still believe in keeping myself extremely fit and I have massive stamina but more than anything else you have to have self-belief.

Curtly Bowling

My bowling record, I think, stands up to scrutiny - Against Australia in their 1995 tour of the Caribbean, I took 5-45 and 4-20 in Trinidad then against England at the Oval later that year I took 5-96. On West Indies tour to Australia in 1996-7 there was 5-55 and 4-17 in Melbourne and 5-43 and 2-50 in Perth. I also took 6-24 against England in Trinidad and in a one off test 6-34 against South Africa in Barbados

I'd had a slight back strain on the Pakistan Tour (1997) and played two out of the three tests but didn't bowl well, the media already seemed ready to pension me off. Before England's visit to the Caribbean in 1998 it was reported in the press that I had sent a letter of retirement to the selectors, it seems the media felt sure they knew something before I did! I did however play for two more years and finally decide to call it a day after the 2000 tour when I received the huge privilege of being given a guard of honour from the England team as I walked out for what was to be my last innings.

Since retiring I don't watch a lot of cricket, I'm not really a lover of watching the game, however I do follow the fortunes of the West Indies Team.