Mon | Feb 19, 2018

No-ball dismissal of Ambrose as bowling coach

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM


We have been awfully quiet about the replacement of West Indies pace legend Curtley Ambrose by former West Indies 'A' player Roderick Estwick as bowling coach for next month's one-day international triangular series against Australia and South Africa. Much too quiet, except, perhaps, H.G. Helps of the Jamaica Observer, who, in his column Sunday last, seemed more than a little displeased.

As always, in attempting to avoid controversy, the West Indies Cricket Board has offered no stroke (as is its right) for the reason Ambrose has been overlooked. And silent though most of us have been, it's hardly likely that the covers won't be removed for a suspicious eye even to be raised.

It does bring again into focus the question of just who qualifies to be a coach. What's the proverbial yardstick (or metric cane given the conversion) to be used to judge. No one should try to deny or discount Mr Estwick's accreditation (Level Three certificate plus experience - the accepted international standards, I am told), nor believe there is a right of passage for Mr Ambrose given his spectacular exploits at the crease. Nor should it be argued or accepted that Curtley's reported Level Two certification and his failure thus far to achieve Level Three cast some doubt, therefore, on his overall competence.

Indeed, the full composite of a good coach goes beyond spreadsheet analysis. It earns its place - that is without question - and the operational tools of today are to be applied. It is never full measure, however, of one's acumen.

As cricket coach, the question of one's reading of the game, the very game-changing strategies to be applied, and the issue of motivation are all particularly weighted factors. Curtley Ambrose towers in all three areas, and there is adoration from the likes of a Michael Holding (who holds no brief for anyone) when he comments on Ambrose's ability on imparting all that is to be delivered in bowling attacks and strategies to be applied at each stage of the game.


Critically, Curtley bridges the gap on the impact of present-day trends and cultural dynamics. In the parlance of the young (with some quite restless), he is easily respected as 'elder' and not 'one a dem ol' man deh' - elder being a term of endearment, particularly in this day and age, of those considered distinguished warrior kings who readily speak to the nuances of our youth - all that is and remains key in the whole motivational exercise.

We will perhaps never have an official word as to his removal. We have become accustomed to such silence, but vigil will be kept in the pavilion on the wisdom of this decision, with the outcome definitely to be measured.

We would hate to believe that rather than competence, it is the case of a coaching panel being merely one of pals converging.