Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad are all ready to play in their last Ashes series. Now, legendary West Indies duo reveal their secrets to a successful new-ball duo. While you cannot ignore the frequent association of this partnership with intimidation and aggression, the duo is completely relaxed about the way they are remembered.
When Ambrose was asked by Betway about how he feels about the new predecessors, he told that he loves to see fast bowlers do well as he is also the part of the fast bowling fraternity. He extracts pleasure from seeing bowlers do better than their former greats. Walsh believes that a new partnership will emerge even better than what Jimmy Anderson and Stuey Broad has done so far.
Walsh and Ambrose-
They have always had this sincerity when talking about how they were never indulged in their own egos or legacies
According to Ambrose in a recent interview, “If I take 10 wickets in a test match and we lose it’s a waste of time. I love winning, winning is a nice feeling. I don’t take losing very well.”
Thank god! It never turned into a big problem.
From 1988 to 2000, only Australia was able to win more test matches than the West Indies team. Until the end of 1995, their win to loss ratio was also second-best but the standard of the team started deteriorating from here. Together, combined, Walsh and Ambrose played a total of 230 test matches and individually Walsh took 519 wickets and Ambrose took 405, collectively 924 wickets.
They have opened the bowling together in 52 test matches and set 412 batsmen back to the pavillion. Only two new-ball partnerships have managed to beat this. Walsh believes that they set the bar. History may tell that their record was broken but that’s a good thing in itself.
However, if it were not for a couple of twists of fate, the duo might have never even met. Ambrose used to bowl with much older guys from a young age but cricket was not his love. He always loved Basketball and football. Cricket was third on his list of priorities.
Thanks to his mother who was a cricket fanatic and brought him down to this line. She always wanted a cricketer in her family. Walsh was also nearly headed down a different path. Originally he was a spinner and did everything to spin the ball. But once there was a concrete stip at Melbourne Cricket Club in Jamaica and he used to run in and bowl fast on that and that’s where things started to change.
In 1984, Walsh made into West Indies team as a fast bowler and met Ambrose four years later. The starting of this pair was not much effective. But as soon as they started spending more time together off the field, they started to develop the required on-field chemistry,
Ambrose puts it how the partnership didn’t start from the formation of team, but when they became roommates in 1990. They got to know more about each other and that’s when the real friendship started. Walsh recalls his memories when they would have dinner together and discussing other things than just cricket. It helped them to understand each other and their perspective on things.
This was the start of a partnership that would rise to set benchmarks for all to follow. Out of the three new-ball partnerships to reach the benchmarks of 400 wickets, Walsh and Ambrose were the first to reach the milestone beating Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis of Pakistan and England’s Anderson and Broad.
Ambrose tells us that there was no secret or magic to it. If Walsh took wickets, then he tried to keep the same pressure from the same end. We looked after each other. A good partnership complement each other and not compete against each other. However, they would smile at each other and see who would get the most wickets on a day, but a jovial thing. Curtly was the kind of guy who wanted to be the first.
Walsh became the first bowler to take 500 wickets in Test cricket and that became the main highlight of his career. Yet Ambrose won the pair’s daily competition as he took a 7-1 against Australia in January 1993. That was a freakish moment totally unheard of.
In 1994, things changed, and Walsh replaced Richie Richardson as the captain of West Indies. No doubt that was an awkward dynamic to the duo’s relationship. Owing to Ambrose’s sense of fun, the transition did not bother much.
Ambrose still had choices of ends, so he always seized the opportunity to choose the end with the breeze at his back and made Courtney to bowl into the wind. Courtney was the captain and Ambrose stil ordered him but it never turned into a problem.
The ultimate goal of the duo was to always extinguish any personal tension. Walsh describes how everybody in West Indies team cherished each other’s company. The efforts were tremendous all round. Anderson and Broad prepare for their final Ashes series as a pair, the greatest fast bowling partnership of all time will always be debatable. Walsh and Ambrose don’t care about the conclusion.