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When Curtly Ambrose Threatened to "Knock Out" Steve Waugh

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Former West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose talked about the time when he threatened to "knock out" Steve Waugh on a Sky Sports Cricket Podcast.

Former West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose talked about the time when he threatened to “knock out" Steve Waugh on a Sky Sports Cricket Podcast.

Ambrose, who had picked up 405 wickets in 98 Tests, rarely engaged in verbal battles on the field, but on this occasion was riled by Waugh.

“Steve Waugh and I had our battles over the years. He was a tough competitor and I have a lot of respect for him but in that particular game he said something to me that I didn’t like,” said Ambrose.

“Initially I ignored it, as in the heat of the battle you can say things, but after a break something just snapped.

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“I asked him, ‘did you say so and so to me?’ He didn’t say yes, he didn’t say no. He just said ‘I can say anything I want to say’ which to me was a yes. I decided I deserved more respect so I had a few choice words for him.

“I said ‘my cricket career could be over right this minute, it doesn’t make a difference to me, but your career will be over, too, because I’ll knock you out and you won’t be able to play any more’. There were a few expletives in between obviously!

“I was upset as I deserved more respect - but it started and ended there. I have seen him a few times since and we have never spoken about it.”

Ambrose goes on to say that aggression cannot be taught, something he embraced from fellow Antiguan Andy Roberts.

“Andy has a wealth of knowledge, he knows about and understands fast bowling. One of the things he mentioned to me was to always be aggressive, to always get under the skin of batsmen. That stuck in my mind coming from a great man like him.

“I don’t think you can teach a bowler to be aggressive - it has to be something within you. You can try but if a bowler doesn’t have it inside of him, it probably won’t work. For me it worked because I am naturally aggressive while I am competing. It naturally flowed for me.

“We never believed in sledging or saying things to the batsmen because we had this philosophy that if you are good enough at what you do, you let the five and a half ounces [the cricket ball] do the talking for you.

“If you keep sledging, you probably aren’t any good. That wasn’t the West Indian way. Five and half ounces coming at you at 90mph is more than enough!”

first published:May 26, 2020, 09:45 IST