Ambrose takes final bow in international cricket
By Colin Croft
August 31, 2000
LONDON, England, (Reuters) - A fast bowling era will come to an end at The Oval during the next week, when Curtly Elcon Lyndwall Ambrose bows out of international cricket.
The equivalent of the Ambrose-Courtney Walsh partnership is unlikely to be seen again in the annals of West Indies' cricket, perhaps even in the world game.
In his 97 Tests to date, Ambrose has taken 402 Test wickets, while his partner Walsh, the world record holder, has 476 from 121.
"I know when I have had enough," said Ambrose, as he looked forward to the fifth Test against England starting today.
"I am not enjoying my cricket as much as I used to. I am very certain that the time for me to take my exit is now. I have always given my best at all times but it is just about time now for the youngsters to take over the mantle.
"I hope that I have passed on as much as I can about fast bowling to the youngsters so it is now up to them."
Many international teams have had great fast bowling pairs: Harold Larwood and Bill Voce for England, Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller for Australia, Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith (West Indies). Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson (Australia) and Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram (Pakistan).
Then came the four-pronged attacks starting with Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Gary Gilmour and Max Walker of Australia followed by the great West Indies' quartets.
FEATS WILL LIVE FOREVER
Somehow the duos have more romance associated with them and the feats of Ambrose and Walsh will live forever.
They have played an incredible 94 Test matches together with Ambrose taking part only three times when his senior partner was not present.
Up to today's Test, of those 94, West Indies won 42 and lost 24. No two players have been more responsible for their team's success than Ambrose and Walsh since they came together in 1988.
Ambrose has bowled 21 786 deliveries in Test cricket while Walsh has delivered 26 804. At an average of about 20 metres for their run-ups, Ambrose will have covered approximately 440 000 metres and Walsh around 540 000.
Before today, Ambrose and Walsh had taken 10 wickets on three different occasions in Tests. Ambrose has taken five wickets in an innings 22 times while Walsh has managed the feat 21 times.
Ambrose had conceded 2.32 runs an over, Walsh 2.59. Their respective bowling averages are an astounding 20.96 for Ambrose and 24.31 for Walsh.
"I really do not know which of my spells was the absolute best," Ambrose said. "I surely remember that my first Test wicket was that of Mudasser Nazar (Pakistan) and that, even more special, Michael Atherton (England) was my 400th.
"Of my spells, the six for 24 (against England, Port of Spain, 1994) was good but the eight for 45 (England, Barbados 1990) was also good while the seven for 25 (Australia, Perth 1992-3) was also special.
"All these were in different circumstances, with one common factor - we might have lost the respective Test matches without my input and performances.
"Each allowed us to win the specific Test, so they were all special in their own right. Even here, in the second Test at Lord's, I kept the pressure on by bowling 22 tight overs and had 1-22, not fantastic figures but I kept the pressure on at all times."
The pressure, described by Atherton as a "tremendous weight on batsmen", allowed Walsh to take six for 74 as England crept home by two wickets.
Ambrose paid tribute to Walsh.
"I am going to miss my great partner and friend. We have gone through a great lot together, good and bad, ups and downs.
"He was so eager and happy for me to join him in the `400 club'. Man, I am going to miss him terribly."
Seven million people throughout the Caribbean will miss Ambrose and many millions more throughout the cricketing world.
Ambrose and Walsh Test bowling figures
LONDON, England, (Reuters) - Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh play international cricket together for the last time in the fifth Test against England starting at The Oval today.
They have taken 878 Test match wickets overall and 752 as a pair in 94 Tests.
Bowling figures (tabulated under - matches, overs, runs, wickets, average, best bowling):
M OVERS RUNS WKTS AVGE B-B
C.E.L. Ambrose 97 3630 8427 402 20.96 8-45
C.A. Walsh 120 4443.2 11570 476 24.31 7-37
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