REVERED WEST Indies fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose believes the region can still produce world-class players and return to the “glory days” of West Indies cricket.
Speaking yesterday at the Sports Desk Secondary Schools Symposium at the Cascadia Hotel in St Ann’s, students sought his opinion on the long-lasting decline of the regional team.
Ambrose, who took 405 Test wickets in a 15-year international career, admitted that the situation was “painful.” The 51-year-old, who very recently returned with the regional squad from the ICC World Cup pointed to regional administrators and the WICB (West Indies Cricket Board) in particular for the situation.
“The West Indies Board and the territorial boards have to take most of the blame,” he answered. “Why? Because when we were the best team in the world, nothing was ever done to nurture the talent. We have tons of talented people. The talent is there, but nothing was ever done.
“The Board sat back and they believed we would forever produce great cricketers. Other nations put things in place; academies were set up and they caught up with us, and now they’ve gone way past us, and we are paying a serious price for that. So we need to create a structure and put things in place to nurture the talent, and I’m quite sure if we do that, we’ll see a resurgence of West Indies cricket.”
Perhaps in reference to the inconsistencies of some of today’s leading regional players, Ambrose confessed he was never one to sit down on his laurels. “Always challenge yourself to do better than before,” he declared. “If I took five wickets today, I would not sit back and say, okay, I’m doing good, I’ll settle for that.” Ambrose, along with fellow West Indies legends Sir Andy Roberts and Sir Richie Richardson, were knighted in their native Antigua in February of last year.