It's simple: Win more matches! - Ambrose
ST JOHN'S, Antigua:
Windies bowling legend Sir Curtly Ambrose says that the regional Test cricket side would still have a large following if it simply won more games and series.
Ambrose, who debuted for the Windies in 1988 and retired in 2000, said that fan support was stronger in his time because the team was doing a lot better then, and youngsters had more inspiration to get into the game.
"It's very simple," he said. "If the team starts to win more games on a consistent basis, the interest will come back. If you cast your mind way back to when we were the best team in the world, everyone wanted to play cricket. It's not so nowadays. I can guarantee you, if we start to win some games, then the interest will come back and we'll see more spectators."
The former pace bowler said that it is sad that younger players are now more interested in playing Twenty20 cricket for various franchises around the world than playing Test matches for the Windies. However, he told The Gleaner that he understood their reason for taking the salary into consideration.
A SHORT CAREER
"I am not going to blame them," Ambrose shared. "Cricket is a short career. Injuries? You never know. So I wouldn't really argue too much with the guys for trying to set themselves up financially for the future. However, I've always believed that representing your country should be of utmost importance. That's me! But at the end of the day, to each his own, they say, so there's nothing much we can do about it."
Ambrose, who since retirement spends more time singing and playing bass for Spirited, an Antiguan reggae band, performed during the Super50 Cricket Festival at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on Tuesday night. He praised the organisers, Cricket West Indies, for the initiative to create a party atmosphere in 50-over cricket, similar to that which exists with the Caribbean Premier League's Twenty20 format. However, Ambrose said that he would like to see a similar approach taken with Tests.
"When you hear about cricket in the West Indies, especially in Antigua, it's not just about cricket alone," he said. "It's about music and a party kinda vibes. Of course, most of the Caribbean region has adopted that message as well.
"Test cricket needs some injection, and if it means bringing the party vibes and music to bring back the spectators, then that's the way to go. But Test cricket needs an injection."
Ambrose took 405 wickets in 98 Tests with a best of eight for 45.