‘Ambi’ Calls For More Attention At Grassroots Level

ST JOHN’S, Antigua- Former national and West Indies cricketer, Curtley Ambrose, believes that for the standard of the game to improve at the national level, there needs to be an overhaul of the entire system.

Ambrose, while speaking on the Good Morning JoJo Sports Show on Friday, said more attention should be paid to development at the grassroots level.

“I mean, when you look at Antigua national team, Leeward Islands and even the West Indies team, we don’t have any Antiguans really on the West Indies team and that to me is sad because when West Indies were at their strongest they had Antiguans on that particular team and I am proud to say that.  I think we need to look after our cricket here in Antigua a bit better and a little more so that we could get a few more international cricketers,” he said

“I believe that the whole structure needs to change from schools level and come right up because you can’t change the top level and the bottom isn’t good. You have to start from the grassroots level.

“I believe sometimes there are too many teams and you got some teams that are just not ready and I believe we should not just have 12 teams so we have numbers. If it means taking six teams so that you can get quality, then so be it,” Ambrose added.

The right-arm fast bowler, who bagged 405 wickets in 98 Tests, said he enjoyed coaching Guyana Amazon Warriors in the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) and is looking forward to a second stint.

“I do enjoy the coaching and I try to impart some of the knowledge that I have gained over the years to young aspiring cricketers. It’s something I have always wanted to do and as a matter of a fact I never thought I would have been involved in cricket so much after I retired,” he said.

“Spending 15 years or whatever in cricket, I wanted to get away from it but I have no problems giving back and that was something that was really enjoying to me. At the end of whenever I decide to call it a day in the coaching arena, I would feel some sense of satisfaction that I have given back quite a bit of what I have learnt over the years, so I am quite enjoying it.”

Ambrose, when asked how he felt after having beaten Antigua Hawksbills on home soil during the tournament, said: “I enjoyed it. From the time I was selected to join the Guyana franchise, walking around Antigua, everybody couldn’t wait for Antigua to play the Guyana franchise so that they could beat me up,” he said.

“I came back to Antigua and from the time I landed at VC Bird International Airport, all the way down to the hotel in the bus, everybody running behind the bus … and I said, ‘you know what? I can’t lose to this Antigua franchise. There is no way.’ So I had to beat up Antigua. I want the general public to know that I could have beat up on Antigua very badly, but I said, ‘you know what? Let the game come a little close to give them something to cheer about.’”

Ambrose, during his one-day career, claimed 225 wickets in 176 matches. He also topped the ICC Player Rankings for much of his career, being rated the best bowler in the world.

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