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Curtly Ambrose
Curtly ambrose2 crop.jpg
Personal information
Full name Curtly Elconn Lynwall Ambrose
Born 21 September 1963 (1963-09-21) (age 46)
Swetes, Antigua and Barbuda
Height 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Batting style Left-handed batsman
Bowling style Right-arm fast
Role Bowler
International information
National side West Indies
Test debut (cap 192) 2 April 1988 v Pakistan
Last Test 31 August 2000 v England
ODI debut (cap 53) 12 March 1988 v Pakistan
Last ODI 23 April 2000 v Pakistan
Domestic team information
Years Team
1985–2000 Leeward Islands
1998–1999 Antigua and Barbuda
1989–1996 Northamptonshire
Career statistics
Competition Tests ODIs FC List A
Matches 98 176 239 329
Runs scored 1439 639 3448 1282
Batting average 12.40 10.65 13.95 11.98
100s/50s 0/1 0/0 0/4 0/0
Top score 53 31* 78 48
Balls bowled 22103 9353 48798 17143
Wickets 405 225 941 401
Bowling average 20.99 24.12 20.24 23.83
5 wickets in innings 22 4 50 4
10 wickets in match 3 n/a 8 n/a
Best bowling 8/45 5/17 8/45 5/17
Catches/stumpings 18/0 45/0 88/0 82/0
Source: [4], September 1 2007

Curtly Elconn Lynwall Ambrose (born September 21, 1963) is a former West Indian cricketer. His skill was as a right-arm fast bowler, especially in partnership with Courtney Walsh. His huge 6'7" (2.01 m) frame was a fearsome sight for any batsman; even when his pace fell away due to age, he still bowled excellent line and length and, due to his height, could extract steepling bounce from any pitch — a threat to even the finest of batsmen. With Walsh, he formed one of the greatest opening bowling partnerships in history, as evidenced by the 421 wickets they shared in the 49 Test matches they played together.

Born in Swetes, Antigua he played for the Leeward Islands, Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, and the West Indian cricket team. Ambrose made his Test debut in April 1988 at Georgetown, Guyana against Pakistan and retired at the end of the England tour in August 2000.

A graph showing Ambrose's test career bowling statistics and how they have varied over time.

In Test cricket, he had 98 caps, bowled 1,001 maiden overs (roughly two in every seven) and took 405 wickets (making him only the fifth to exceed the 400 barrier) at an average of 20.99. This superb average is marginally bettered only by fellow West Indians Malcolm Marshall (20.94) and Joel Garner (20.97) among bowlers who have taken more than 200 wickets. In addition, Ambrose also boasts the best economy rate of any of the nine bowlers who have taken 400 or more Test wickets, at 2.31 per over. His best performance was eight for 45 against England at Barbados in 1990 (in 34 Tests against England he took 164 wickets, dismissing Mike Atherton seventeen times); he took five wickets or better on 22 occasions, including seven wickets for one run against Australia at the WACA, in Perth, in 1993. He also bowled an infamous fifteen-ball over at the same ground: it contained nine no-balls and took twelve minutes to bowl, making it possibly the longest over in Test cricket. He overstepped the crease by a considerable margin and it was regarded that he deliberately did so to come closer to the batsmen to intimidate them.

In 176 one-day internationals, Ambrose took 225 wickets. Despite certain pretensions as a left-handed batsman, and a single Test fifty to his credit (53 against Australia in 1991), he did not distinguish himself with the bat.

Ambrose was a man of few words, refusing countless interview requests with the motto "Curtly talk to no man."[1]


Legacy and life after cricket

Having retired from cricket, Ambrose now plays guitar in a reggae band called Big Bad Dread and the Baldhead alongside former team-mate Richie Richardson.[2]

He was recently placed at No. 3 in Shane Warne's list of the fifty greatest cricketers of his time,[3] while Ian Botham in his book Botham's Century noted that, although "a cricketer who thrived on aggression and menace", Ambrose was "the most reluctant and detached of heroes", indeed "one of the quietest that I ever encountered". As a bowler, he was always "miserly accurate" but occasionally, when fired up, "as unforgiving and as devastating as a hurricane", and "virtually unplayable":

But maybe of all these weapons, the most potent was his silence.

Many fast bowlers have tried to put batsmen off their strokes by utilising various forms of verbal and physical intimidation. Curtley intimidated you with hush.[4]


  • Botham, Ian and Peter Hayter. Botham's Century: My 100 Great Cricketing Characters. CollinsWillow, 2001.


  1. ^ [1].
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3].
  4. ^ Botham 2001.

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