Cricket Players In Profile: Curtly Ambrose

To give him his full name and title, Sir Curtly Elconn Lynwall Ambrose, was one of his generation’s most feared fast bowlers. Hailing from Antigua, he played a total of 98 Test matches for the West Indies and made his Test debut back in April 1988. Across his career, he took 405 Test wickets for a formidable average of 20.99 and was typically rated the world’s best bowler by topping the ICC Player Rankings. Instead of looking to the past, look to the future, and for upcoming cricket betting odds, check out our sportsbook.

The Start Of Curtly Ambrose’s Career

Curtly Ambrose began his first-class cricket career playing for the Leeward Islands during the 1985-1986 season. After an impressive start, he headed over to England on the back of a scholarship to play club cricket. This was focused on the Liverpool and Central Lancashire leagues where his wicket-taking shot up. He also fine-tuned his bowling technique to set him up for his Test career.

In the 1987–1988 series, he made an impact in an ODI series against Pakistan. In just three games, he had a ten-wicket halt at a scary average of just 10.35. After his first two ODI matches, he had scored a four-wicket haul in each. He even won man of the match in the Champions Trophy cup final which was held in the United Arab Emirates having picked up four for 29. Finally, he took his awesome form to the Benson and Hedges series during the 1988–1989 series where his 21 wickets included a haul of five for 17 at the MCG against Australia.

As his career developed, Ambrose worked on his game and became feared by batsmen as a fast bowler who could smash his way through a middle order. After performing in the ODIs, Ambrose performed in various Test series’ too including his second one which came against Australia in Perth. Though his eight-wicket haul is noteworthy, his performance was well-remembered for breaking Jeff Lawson’s jaw. The West Indies won by 169 runs yet Ambrose was just getting started.

At Barbados’ Kensington Oval, England were holding out for a draw in 1990. Ambrose was not having it and, in just five overs, he had decimated England’s final five wickets at eight for 45. The light was fading and seeing Ambrose heading to the crease would have been a terrifying sight. In 1992, Ambrose then sliced through South Africa’s middle order to score the West Indies a famous win in Bridgetown.

Why Curtly Ambrose Was So Feared As A Fast Bowler

At the time, he became the fifth bowler to hit 400 Test wickets which came towards the end of his career. So few bowlers hit such statistics yet Ambrose was ultimately feared by the batsmen he faced. He stood at a height of six feet and seven inches which is a scary prospect when you imagine his giant frame speeding in to deliver the ball. Ambrose was quick at covering the ground and produced rapid deliveries yet his range was also a key part of his arsenal.

Largely due to his frame, Ambrose could create a ball lift that was difficult to face at a good length. He was precise too and, combined with his speed, few batsmen enjoyed facing Curtly Ambrose. To the press, he was also a daunting character as he refused many interviews by the simple mantra, “Curtly talk to no man”. Thankfully, if you do want to read some discussion on current sports matters then head to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Curtly Ambrose’s Greatest Performances

Though the statistics paint a picture of just how great a player Ambrose was, there are two performances that stand out. During the 1992-1993 season, he managed a spell of seven for one in just 32 balls to score an innings victory and clinch the series for West Indies against Australia. At the WACA of all places, yet the pitch did suit his large frame as he could release the ball at a height close to ten feet. He arrived in truly brilliant form anyway having taken a ten wicket haul during the Adelaide Test.

There was more to Ambrose’s game than mere bounce and later in his career he adapted to rely on subtlety. His supple wrists meant that he could concentrate on seam movement and he worked on his grooved action which proved quite a problem for English batsmen. Indeed, he also secured six for 24 that finished off England for just 46 in Trinidad during the 1993-1994 season.


While Curtly Ambrose’s greatest exploits were undoubtedly with the ball in his hand, he switched it up for his batting. His bowling style was a formidably quick right-arm fast yet his batting style was left-handed. Alas, he never truly hit the heights at the receiving end of the crease yet many fans should be thankful that he decided to play cricket in the first place. Growing up in the Caribbean, Ambrose was a basketball player and by listening to his mother, he decided to turn down a lucrative career in America for concentrating on his cricket.