GALLE, Sri Lanka – West Indies bowling consultant Sir Curtly Ambrose is advising new captain Jason Holder not to burden his seam attack with long spells if he wants to ensure their effectiveness in the two-Test series starting tonight.
The legendary fast bowler said that with sweltering heat expected, allowing the pace attack adequate rest would prove crucial in getting the most out of them when it counted most.
Since arriving in the south Asian nation, the Windies have been confronted with stifling heat, with temperatures soaring into the mid-30s Celsius coupled with high humidity.
“In these conditions it’s been very, very hot, and it is going to be important that the fast bowlers bowl shorter spells,” said Sir Curtly, who took 405 wickets in 98 Tests.
“Bowling eight, nine, ten overs a spell is going to be too much for them so the skipper will have to monitor the fast bowlers a little bit better, giving them shorter spells – whether three or four-over spells – where they can give you a full hundred per cent, so at the end of the day they have some energy left when you need them to produce. So the spells are going to be important.”
He added: “Hydration is going to be [important]. You can’t wait until you’re tired or feel hydrated to put in the fluids so that is going to be key, the hydration faction is going to be key.”
Sir Curtly said in the humid conditions, the fast bowlers needed to make the most of the abbreviated spells and get early wickets, as life would become harder for bowlers as the game went on.
“You have to make sure that your first spell, for instance, with the new ball, you have to try your best to make that count,” he cautioned.
“You have to nick out a few wickets early because the conditions here will be extremely hot. So short spells for me will do the trick where fast bowlers will feel a little more fresh than bowling eight or nine overs in one spell.”
He said one of the bright spots from the tour game was the awareness of the seamers in knowing the right length to bowl.
“It’s a lot hotter than the Caribbean. Playing that three-day warm-up game . . . there was something for the fast bowlers. It was not a quick pitch but there was grass on it and something for the fast bowlers,” Sir Curtly pointed out.
“What impressed me most with our quicks was that they quickly found the right length to bowl and that was very impressive. We didn’t have to tell them what length to bowl, they really worked it out themselves and that to me was very impressive.
“Once we can do that going into the Test matches, I think we’re going to be ok.”