September 21 1963 – Sir Curtly Elconn Lynwall Ambrose “Ambi” was born in Swetes Village, St. Mary’s Antigua and Barbuda to Jasper Ambrose from Barnes Hill/ Cedar Grove and Hilarine ‘Hillie’ Ambrose from Swetes.
A graduate of the All Saints Secondary School, basketball and football were his preferred sports in which he participated in the community. He dabbled with success in softball cricket and had a brief stint as an umpire.
Many dub Ambrose as ‘the reluctant cricketer’. He came to the game of cricket relatively late but quickly made a lasting impression as a right-handed fast bowler. His initial foray into cricket was encouraged by his mother Hilarine ‘Hillie’ Ambrose, who urged him to take cricket more seriously.
Encouraged by many in his village, to include Enoch Lewis and Malvern Spencer, with familial motivation from his brother Danny Ambrose (classy wicket keeper and batsman), Curtly soon became a fixture in the Swetes Cricket team which competed in the ACA 2-day league.
Unfortunate circumstances resulted in the suspension of the Swetes cricket team from the competition. With encouragement, Ambrose moved on to the Combined Parish League team under the guidance of Taddy Arrindell.
The community’s faith in Ambi’s talent overpowered any lingering resistance on his part. Maurice Francis, owner of Midway Service Station provided the vehicle and driver, Keith ‘Ballu’ Robinson to ensure his passage to and from practice at the Factory Grounds.
In short order Ambi impressed Taddy who invited Sir Viv to watch Curtly in action. This scouting opportunity resulted in Ambi’s selection to the National Cricket team and onward to Leewards. Sir Viv was also instrumental in opening up opportunities for Ambrose to hone his craft as a bowler in England.
He first played for the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket team at the age of 20. Ambi played for the Leeward Island cricket team and took four (4) wickets in his debut game. He played with the Leewards until 2000.
He earned his West Indies Cricket One Day International debut on March 11, 1988 – West Indies vs Pakistan at Kingston, and his Test cap April 01 – 05, 1988 – West Indies vs Pakistan at Georgetown.
Among Ambrose’s 405 Test wickets at 20.99, two spells stand out: 1993-94 vs England in Trinidad, 6 for 24 England out for 46, and his series-clinching burst of 7 for 1 against Australia. Curtly played with the West Indies team until his retirement in 2000. His last International Test match was on August 31st, 2000 vs England and his last One Day International was on April 23rd, 2000 vs Pakistan.
In 2011 Curtly Ambrose was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Nation (KCN) by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda on February 28th, 2014. Ambrose is considered the most lethal fast bowler of his generation.
Following his retirement, Ambrose has pursued a career in music as the bass guitarist with reggae band “Spirited Band”. He also ventured into the dancing field when he was a contestant on the popular television show “Dancing With The Stars” held in Australia in 2019. He remains engaged in cricket as a coach and commentator.
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