It’s really a shame, sad - Ambrose laments
HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC):
Legendary former fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose has urged West Indies to use the disappointment of missing out on next month's ICC Champions Trophy, to return to the top of world cricket.
The tournament, referred to as the mini World Cup, features the cricket world's top eight sides, with West Indies missing out on the June 1-18 showpiece in England due to their lowly number-nine ranking.
"It's really a shame. It is sad. I never thought the time would come when we, as a West Indies team, would miss a Champions Trophy," Sir Curtly told the Royal Gazette.
"It's not a nice feeling at all, but that's the way it is. We are not playing as well as we can so it's up to us as a nation, and the cricketers themselves, to bring back this tradition we have to get West Indies cricket near the top again."
West Indies were good enough to win the tournament back in 2004 in England, when they beat the hosts in a dramatic final at the Oval.
Prospect of failing
Their fortunes have declined steadily since then, however, and they now also face the prospect of failing to qualify automatically for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Only hosts England and the remaining top seven sides by the September 30 cut-off date will secure automatic spots with the remaining sides forced to play a qualifying tournament for a chance at the remaining two slots.
Sir Curtly, who up until last year served as a bowling consultant to West Indies, believes consistency is the big hurdle the regional side has to overcome.
"Potential and talent has never been the question. It's just we've not kept the results that we want. From time to time there have been some good performances, but we're not consistent enough," explained the Antiguan, who took 405 wickets from 98 Tests and 225 scalps from 176 one-dayers.
"To move up the rankings you have to be consistent with both games and with both teams and until we start to do that we will remain the way we are at the moment. We just need to be more consistent."
This year already, West Indies have lost five of their six one-day internationals, with five-match series against India and England to follow by the end of September.