Childhood & Early Life
Born on September 21, 1963, in Swetes, Antigua and Barbuda, Ambrose is the fourth of seven children of a carpenter father and a homemaker mother. While no one in his family had played cricket before him, his mother, Hillie (Millie, according to some sources), loved the sport. He played some cricket in his youth, but he preferred basketball at the time and thought of emigrating to the United States.
It was his mother who encouraged him to pursue a career in cricket. His first-class debut came in 1985-86 in a match for the Leeward Islands. After he earned a Viv Richards scholarship, it provided him with the financial backing to travel to England and play for Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club in the highly-rated Liverpool Competition in 1986. Later, he secured his position in the Leeward Islands team.
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Curtly Ambrose made his international debut in the first match of an ODI series against Pakistan on March 12, 1988, in Kingston, Jamaica. He took four wickets in that inning and continued to perform well in the next two matches, helping West Indies secure the series. However, his good performance did not carry over to the test series that followed.
On April 2, 1988,. he had his test debut against Pakistan and only managed to take two wickets for 121 as the West Indians were defeated at home for the first time in a decade.
In 1988, he was selected in the West Indian squad for the England tour. Appearing in all five matches of the test series, he garnered 22 wickets at an average of 20.22. Cricket writers subsequently began comparing him to Joel Garner, whose retirement had originally led to Ambrose’s inclusion in the West Indian team.
In 1989, Ambrose played English County cricket for the first time for Northamptonshire. In 1990, during England’s tour of West Indies, he proved brutally effective. In the fourth innings of one match, he recorded a figure of eight wickets for 45 runs.
He later toured Pakistan and England and played Australia and South Africa at home and continued to deliver superlative performances with the ball.
In 1992, Ambrose played his first ICC World Cup, which was hosted by Australia and New Zealand. His performance in the series left the fans disappointed, and West Indies was eliminated in the round-robin stage.
By 1994, Ambrose had become one of the leading bowlers in the world. That year, he sustained a shoulder injury and could not accompany the team on a tour to India.
Even when he came back, in early 1995, he was not being able to generate his old pace. He had problems with the West Indian manager at the time, former test bowler Andy Roberts, who complained that the fast bowlers were not listening to his advice.
In the 1996 World Cup, which was held in the Indian subcontinent, Ambrose and his bowling partner Courtney Walsh significantly contributed to West Indies’ performance. They made it to the semi-finals of the series where they were ultimately defeated by Australia.
In the late 1990s, West Indies witnessed a categorical decline in all forms of cricket. While they won matches and tournaments at home, their performance abroad was abysmal.
In 1999, Ambrose played in his last World Cup in Europe (mostly England). Although the team was eliminated in the group stage, Ambrose took seven wickets at 13.42 and gave 2.35 runs per over, becoming the second most economical bowler of the series.
After the World Cup, Ambrose and Walsh were often rested. His last ODI was against Pakistan, the same team against which he started his career, on April 23, 2000. He played his final test series in England.
On August 31, 2000, the last test of his career began. He took three wickets in it and received a standing ovation from the crowd and a guard-of-honour from the English team. After the series, Ambrose retired from international cricket.