Fast bowling legend Sir Curtly Ambrose is confident West Indian cricket is not dead and is convinced Australia will be the team feeling the pressure in the upcoming Test series.
Ambrose read the riot act to his troops after their tour match capitulation in Brisbane last week –– where the visitors lost by ten wickets –– and says both in Hobart and in the years to come, the once mighty Windies will bounce back as a force to be reckoned with.
According to the world’s best credentialed bowling coach, the Windies will not only compete with Australia, but push hard for one of the upsets of the century.
The West Indies were crushed by a CA XI devoid of first-class experience in Brisbane last week, prompting bookmakers to open Australia at the shortest odds ever to win a Test series.
However, the man who barely gave an interview during his extraordinary Test career came out swinging with brash confidence yesterday, reminding Australia of their weak middle-order batting stocks and warning critics would be made to eat their words.
“Once we get them [Smith, Warner] out early, that is going to give us some leeway to get into the middle and really test them,” said Ambrose, the Windies’ bowling consultant.
“If you can get them out pretty early for not too many runs and get into the middle as quick as possible, I believe the middle order for Australia is not that solid at the moment.”
The lanky Antiguan gave his assurance the players would not allow the negative comments which followed last week’s crushing defeat to affect them.
In fact, he said he hoped they would use those comments as motivation instead.
“First of all we’re not going to be distracted by those comments [writing the Windies off]. We’re here to do a job and we’re going to make a good job of it.
“. . . Having heard or read those comments should be added motivation for them to prove the critics if you will. We are not really distracted,” Ambrose insisted.
Addressing the team’s embarrassing loss to the CA XI in Brisbane, Ambrose said he sat the players down for an “honesty session.”
“We had a meeting, we had a talk about it and I explained to the guys in no uncertain terms that that’s unacceptable,” he said.
“If we’re going to struggle against an Under-19 team, how do we expect to compete against a strong Australian line-up? But we had a good meeting.”
West Indian cricket has been in crisis for years, typified by the fact Chris Gayle and company will be playing in the Big Bash League while the Test team runs out with an understrength XI.
However, Ambrose rejected a notion that the once mighty West Indies could be disbanded.
“The passion is still there. Of course with the Twenty20 leagues around the world, more often than not we struggle to really select our best team, for different reasons. But I’m one of those guys who are not going to complain about that, whatever team we put out, we have to work with that team,” he explained.
“It’s a young team, and we don’t expect them to set the world alight overnight. It’s going to take some time, but I believe we have enough talent that we can bounce back.
“I’m going to do whatever I can . . . we’re going to do much better than you think,” Ambrose maintained.