‘Incredible competitor’ Ambrose’s short ball was always on throat: Steve Waugh

Written by Toshi Pawar

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has talked about a strange tactics from legendary West Indian bowler Curtly Ambrose and have termed it as “worse than sledging”. In a normal world when we will talk about the West Indies pacers of past we would imagine tall, heavily built pacers bowling at a lethal pace and walking up to the batsmen to sledge them upfront. But that was not the case with Curtly Ambrose, Steve Waugh has revealed.

Australians breed on sledges as that brings out the best in them but what if fiercest of the opposition bowler just bowls terrifically and says nothing in return. Well, that is what happened when the Australian team travelled to the Carribean islands in 1995. The series was a closely fought one and there was a fear of unknown in the Australian batters.

Recalling some moments from that series Steve Waugh talked specifically about Curtly Ambrose, who played 98 Tests for West Indies and took 405 wickets in them. Steve Waugh said that Ambrose’s silence left him perplexed on occasions.

“Curtly Ambrose was a great bowler. He was an incredible adversary and my most respected opponent. He never said anything to you, and that was worse than sledging. You didn’t know what he was thinking, is he trying to get me out, or is he going to hurt me?

“That’s worse than someone telling you what they are going to do. He was always there on the good length, and his short ball was always on the throat. He was an incredible competitor,” Steve Waugh told former England cricketer Michael Artherton in a Sky Sports Youtube video interview.

It was Australia then coach Bob Simpson who motivated the visiting team and asked them to bring their best foot forward and show courage. Steve Waugh reflected on the words of his coach and did just what the doctor ordered in the final test at Jamaica.

“The West Indies innings made me as a player and probably goes back to Bob Simpson. He doesn’t get a lot of credit. After the first couple of Tests, he sat our group of batsmen down and he said ‘this is not good enough. Somewhere, one of you guys need to go and get a big hundred, and we said ‘well, hang on look, why don’t you go and try this, those are four quicks, and we are doing our best.

“But I walked away from that meeting and I thought ‘maybe there is something in what he is saying. Are we tough enough? Can we break through and get that big score’.

“That happened in the 200 I scored in Jamaica. Sometimes you need to be told the truth and he told us ‘you are soft, and need to do better’. And getting that 200 was the highlight of my career, against the best team in the world that had been unbeaten in 15 years,” Steve Waugh said.

Steve Waugh slammed 200 runs off 425 balls in the first innings along with his brother Mark waugh, who also scored a hundred to give Australia a mammoth first innings lead. Australia won that match by an innings and 53 runs and also sealed the series with 2-1 margin.

About the author

Toshi Pawar

Girl who loves blogging, fashion, photography. Digital Strategist for @CricketAge and SEO, Social Media Expert at Mr.HiTech.