By Neto Baptiste
Specialist bowling consultant for the ongoing Cricket West Indies (CWI) Rising Stars Under-19 High Performance Camp here, Sir Curtly Ambrose, is pleased with what he has seen thus far.
A total of 56 players from across the Caribbean are being hosted here as they prepare for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup (50 overs) in 2022.
“We’ve got 56 of what we figure are the best young talent in the region at the moment, and a lot of these guys I’ve never seen before, and after a couple of days of practice there has been a lot of talent on display. I am very impressed with what I have seen and then, of course, yesterday [Sunday], we played our first practice game and there was a century, a few half centuries, so the guys are looking really good; they are full of life and energy and willing to learn, which is key,” he said.
The Antiguan, who is currently working closely with the young fast bowlers and will also act as a mentor for the team, commended the participants for their level of interaction and engagement with the coaching staff.
“Most of them have got natural ability but at this age, they don’t quite understand the concept of bowling, so my job is basically to educate them. They are full of life and energy and they really want to do well but it’s a process you have to go through to becoming a great fast bowler so it’s up to me as the bowling coach now to really educate them, teach them the finer points and what it takes,” Sir Curtly said.
“We talk a lot, they pick my brain a lot, which is really good because some guys I’ve worked with don’t really say anything. They just sit there and wait on you as a coach to tell them everything, but these guys are a little bit different. They are not afraid to ask questions which makes my job easier,” he added.
Sir Curtly said he was not surprised after being invited to work along with the group after hearing that Floyd Reifer would be in charge of the camp, given their long history of working together.
“When I heard about it a while back that Floyd Reifer is the head coach I had a feeling because we’ve worked together before at CCC [Combined Campuses and Colleges] and we have a very good relationship. So, I kind of figured that he may reach out and ask me to be part of it, so I called him one time and asked what was the situation. I didn’t know if he had his crew already but because of the relationship I called him and he said, of course, he would be willing to have me on his staff because in his mind, I’ve got a wealth of knowledge and these youngsters could benefit greatly from my experience,” the former player said.
The former fast bowler, who claimed 405 Test wickets and another 225 in ODIs, will accompany the under-19s on the tour of England next month, where they will play six Youth One-Day Internationals at the County Ground in Beckenham and the Polo Field in Canterbury.