I never saw axe coming, says shocked Ambrose

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Bowling legend Sir Curtly Ambrose says he is shocked by his sacking as West Indies bowling consultant, and also claimed he was blindsided by the decision.

The 52-year-old, who has served in the role for the past three years, said he had only been informed of the decision by head coach Phil Simmons less than a week ago, and also pointed out that he had already planned his schedule around next month’s Tri-Nations Series and the four-Test India series starting in July.

“I only learnt about it from head coach Phil Simmons on Wednesday [last week], and when he told me I said to him that I am very disappointed, because I never expected it, and I never saw it coming because he never gave me any indication he was going to let me go,” Sir Curtly told the Observer newspaper here.

“So, it came as a bit of a shock basically, but I haven’t decided which direction I am going to take just yet. I’ll just pause and give it a little time to think about it and decide where I want to go after.”

Last Friday, the West Indies Cricket Board announced that the Antiguan would be replaced by former Barbados and West Indies A fast bowler, Roddy Estwick, who was recently bowling coach for Barbados Pride in the Regional four-day championship.

The move came just three weeks prior to the start of the June 3-26 Tri-Nations Series involving Australia and South Africa, and just over a month after Sir Curtly helped guide West Indies to their second capture of the Twenty20 World Cup in India.

Sir Curtly said he had been told by Simmons that he required a bowling consultant who was “more technical”, hence the decision to go with Barbadian Estwick.

IN BETTER TIMES: West Indies coach Phil Simmons (left) chats with Sir Curtly Ambrose during a training session.
IN BETTER TIMES: West Indies coach Phil Simmons (left) chats with Sir Curtly Ambrose during a training session.

“I spoke to Head Coach Phil Simmons, and he told me that he wanted someone who is more technical to work with the fast bowlers,” Sir Curtly explained.

“So, I said to him well, ‘if you knew I was doing a poor job, then you should have told me’. He said no, I did a fantastic job, because I brought a high level of discipline to the team, and I have motivated the guys quite a bit.

“I’ve gotten the respect from all the guys, and I did a fantastic job, but he wants somebody more technical, hence, he is going for Roderick Estwick.”

Sir Curtly is widely regarded as one of the finest fast bowlers to have played the game, snaring 405 wickets in 98 Tests at an astonishing average of 20.99.

Only recently, however, Barbadian cricket coach and outstanding former England county professional, Franklyn Stephenson, slammed him as “the worst coach I’ve seen.”

Sir Curtly, who quit international cricket 16 years ago, said he held no ill will towards Simmons over the decision.

“I had high hopes for the Tri-Nations series and the Test series against India, because I have planned most of my stuff around those series,” Sir Curtly said.

“So, it was a bit of a shock, and it’s disappointing, but he’s the boss, and the head coach is the one who selects his crew, his coaching staff.

“I did wish him all the best and asked him to continue with the team and that we can get some positive results, because I am not going to hold him in malice or hold it against him. Its’ just disappointing.”

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