West Indies slipped to their third loss of the ICC World Cup when they failed to defend 322 against Bangladesh at Taunton on Monday (June 17). Jason Holder’s side is now wallowing in seventh place with 3 points from five games and have the enviable task of winning rest of their four games if they hope to make the semifinals.
West Indian fast bowling legend Curtly Ambrose was in the commentators’ booth at the County Ground in Taunton to see his national team crumble to a seven-wicket loss in spite of putting up a fighting total. Ambrose, who picked up 405 Test wickets and 225 ODI scalps in a glittering career, is sad to see the steady decline of the two-time World Champions in international cricket.
“Of course it hurts to see the West Indies struggle. Once upon a time, you were the best team in the world for many, many years. I used to play. I know what it’s like to be the best team,” Ambrose was quoted as saying in Bangladesh newspaper Daily Star.
“But the talent is still there, we just need better structure so that we can nurture the talent. As we speak that is being set up. I am hoping that in a few years West Indies will be a force again in world cricket,” the proud Antiguan said.
The 55-year-old said he would love to see West Indies in the 2019 World Cup semifinals but felt the way they are playing currently, it’s going to be ‘really, really tough’.
“The way they (West Indies) are going now, it is going to be really, really tough to get into the semifinals. There might be some upsets along the way, there may be weather interventions, so they have to keep winning,” Ambrose, who took part in three World Cup between 1992 and 1999, said.
“Most of the cricket pundits figure that the top four teams are Australia, India, New Zealand, and England and everyone expects them to be in the semifinal. I am hoping to see some upsets, to be honest, to keep the World Cup interesting. You don’t want it to be a straightforward World Cup. I am hoping West Indies make the semifinals,” he added.
Ambrose’s former new-ball partner Courtney Walsh is now the bowling coach of Bangladesh and the two got to catch-up on the sidelines of the World Cup game in Taunton.
“Courtney Walsh is a legend. He’s got a lot of knowledge. He can only serve the Bangladeshi bowlers for the future. As long as they’re willing to learn, he’s got a lot to offer. So I am sure that these guys will get better as long as Courtney’s there,” Ambrose said about Walsh.
Finally, asked if fast bowlers are using too much of slower deliveries, Ambrose said, “Becoming a great fast bowler is not always bowling 90 miles an hour. If you bowl 90mph and can’t put the ball in the right areas, it’s a waste of time.
“So even if you bowl 85mph and you can swing the ball or seam the ball, you will get wickets. So the basic foundation of becoming a great fast bowler is not speed – when you got speed, it helps, because the batsmen will be cautious and worried – but the basic foundation is to be able to bowl a proper line and length consistently and do something with the ball, and then you’ll get wickets,” he added.