-Western Grandstand- What is not ‘technical’ about Sir Curtley?


May 28, 2016
WICB Media/Randy Brooks Phil Simmons (left) and Sir Curtly Ambrose during a West Indies training sesson at Kensington Oval in Barbados last year.

The decision by West Indies head coach Phil Simmons to replace legendary fast bowler Sir Curtley Ambrose as the team's bowling consultant must either be the joke of the century or a sign of lunacy. It simply defies logic.

Any bowler in the current West Indies team who is not overjoyed to have a bowler with Ambrose's experience, class and record, to inspire and motivate him, must be the ultimate moron because the Antiguan is easily one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time.

Unless one is totally naive to the history of West Indies cricket, there is no way one would not know of Ambrose's phenomenal impact on the region's cricket, especially during the era when the West Indies were easily the most feared team in the cricketing world.

After thoroughly searching my mind for possible reasons why Simmons could have made such a colossal blunder, the only thing I could come up with that makes sense was that he was intimidated by Ambrose's commanding presence in the dressing room and felt he needed to protect himself from being overshadowed.

Simmons' claim that he needed someone "more technical" to deal with the bowlers is laughable at best. If he is talking about certification, Ambrose's enviable 405 test wickets in 98 Test matches and his 225 wickets 176 one day internationals beat any coaching certificate in my book.

What has made Simmon's action even more laughable is the fact that he has replaced Ambrose with the little known Barbadian Roderick Estwick, whose playing exploits amount to a few games with the West Indies A team; and a coaching resume which has no significant highlights.

I could understand if Simmons was bringing in the Australian Glen McGrath or either South Africans Allan Donald or Shaun Pollock, but the unknown Estwick looks like something that has nothing to do with cricket or wanting to do well.

Based on Ambrose's response to the decision, I am sure he is angry albeit that he has declared that he holds no bitterness towards Simmons. Anyone who has been watching the West Indies team, especially at the recent ICC Twenty/20 World Cup, would have seen that Ambrose was the 'vibes man,' the heart and soul of the coaching unit.

The fact that Ambrose was already working on his plans for the upcoming tri-nation Test series, which will feature the West Indies, India and Australia, speaks to his commitment to West Indies cricket and his deep desire to play his part in the team's return to greatness.

Interestingly, unlike Simmons, who has coached other national teams, based on his fierce Caribbean pride, which is the hallmark of legends such as Vivian Richards and Michael Holding, I don't believe Ambrose would take up a coaching job, which would see him going up against the West Indies.

For the sake of Simmons, I hope the very technical Estwick quickly transform our bowlers into match winners because if he fails and the team continues to perform miserably, I will be among the first persons calling for Simmons' head.

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