'Ambi' backs WI
NELSON, New Zealand (CMC):
Nearly 15 years after hanging up his boots, fast-bowling icon Sir Curtly Ambrose is back in West Indies colours and is a man on a mission.
The Windies legend will not be suiting up in the maroon gear to send down his thunderbolts, but he is a key figure behind the scenes, making sure the Caribbean side are in tip-top shape to challenge for the game's biggest prize.
Standing six feet, nine inches tall, Ambrose was a menace to batsmen all over the world. But despite a glittering career, he never managed to win the World Cup.
He played in the 1992 edition in Australia, 1996 in Asia and 1999 in England, but the trophy eluded him on every occasion. He is now hoping to make amends in 2015.
"I was fortunate to participate in three World Cups, but it (winning) is the one thing in my career that is missing. The only regret, really, is that I never managed to win the World Cup with the West Indies," Sir Curtly told CMC Sports.
"We won it back in 1975 and 1979 with the great teams under Clive Lloyd, but when I came along, we never quite won it.
"This time, I hope to be on the winning team. It would be a great delight for me to add the World Cup ... not just for me, but for this team and the many fans we have all over the world. For me, it would be a good icing on the cake."
NOT AMONG FAVOURITES
Based on current form, West Indies are not among the favourites. They were thrashed 4-1 in South Africa in a recent ODI series there, lost their opening official warm-up match by nine wickets to England earlier in the week, before narrowly beating Scotland by three runs four days later.
Sir Curtly, known for his intensity and desire to win during his playing days, said West Indies would not be fazed by pundits' predictions.
"Not many people have given us a chance, but, for me, that's OK. What I told the team is that we have to prepare well and go out and give it all we have," he said.
The 51-year-old Antiguan joined the Windies coaching staff in June last year and is with the team in New Zealand as they prepare for their opening World Cup match against Ireland at the Saxton Oval here at 5 p.m. today (Jamaica time).