Former West Indies paceman Curtly Ambrose is thrilled to be inducted into the ICC Hall Of Fame
Ambrose was inducted into the Hall Of Fame on Monday in London alongside former Australia all-rounder Alan Davidson, former Australia women's captain Belinda Clark and late Australia bowler Fred Spofforth.
"Well for me personally it is a privilege and an honour to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. In the history of cricket there have been many great cricketers and to be part of that elite group, am very happy and am very humbled," said Ambrose.
The Antigua born fast bowler believes the induction into the Hall Of Fame is a reward for all the hard work he has out in over the years.
"I never thought that this day would come. This only tells me that all the hard work I put in throughout my career, did not go unnoticed. I see this also as a just reward for all the joy and happiness that I may have brought to cricket and cricketers alike," added Ambrose.
Throughout a 12-year career, Ambrose witnessed many highs both individually and as part of a team. But there is still one disappointment in his life.
"There have been so many wonderful times throughout my career. It is difficult to pinpoint one incident. I enjoyed my career. It was so wonderful that I would not trade it for the world. The only disappointment probably was never winning the World Cup. But outside of that I have had a wonderful career," recalled Ambrose.
When he retired in 2000, Ambrose had played 98 Tests. He says that never did the thought of completing 100 Tests cross his mind.
"Throughout my career, I never played for personal seasons. I was always a team player. A lot of people asked me about the 100 Tests. But at that point I had had enough. I wanted to give 100 percent all the time. But when I could not to do it anymore, it got to a point when I needed a change in life, I decided to end my career. I never played for personal milestones," summed up Ambrose.
Over his 12-year career, Ambrose had to his credit a number of brilliant spells, but there was one spell that is still close to his heart.
"Well, there have been a number of spells that stand out. But if I were to pick one it would have to be 7 for one against Australia in Adelaide (1993). It is unheard of to pick up seven for 1 in a spell of five or six overs," said Ambrose.
In his career, Ambrose played for a team that was on top of the world and then saw the power base shifting to Australia.
"For many years West Indies best team in the world. In fact in the first seven years of my career from 1988-1995 we were number one. We then lost the number one spot to Australia in 1995. Since then West Indies team has struggled. I always knew that we won't be number one forever and that one day we will have to relinquish it. But I never thought it would take so long for us to regain that status. It is so very hurtful and hard to fathom why we are doing poorly at the moment," opined Ambrose.
So vivid is his memory, that Ambrose even now recalls his early years with the West Indies team fondly.
"When I came into West Indies team in 1988 there was Sir Viv Richards, Greenidge, the great Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh. And then there was me a rookie back like me. I did not want to be a weak link in the team. I wanted to learn quickly and maintain those high standards that the the team had attained. It was memorable to adapt to the situation and make a name for myself," said Ambrose.
One thing that Ambrose still cherishes after all these years was the friendship and bond he formed with Walsh, which resulted in the formation of one of the most lethal pace combinations ever.
"Courtney and I are great friends. Apart from being bowling partners we understood what it takes to win games. And when the likes of Marshall left the scene, it was upto Courtney and me to nurture fast bowlers coming into the team. We took the lead and did the bulk of the bowling. We wanted to help wholeheartedly for the young bowlers to learn as they entered the Test arena, so that they would take over, once Courtney and I left the scene. But no one seemed to have got that level after we left. That is very sad," bemoans Ambrose.
The strength of the partnership between Walsh and him, according to Ambrose is their friendship.
"What it made so easy was the fact that Courtney and I were great friends. There was never any competition between us. We did our work as professionals. There was never any rivalry and that made the big difference because never tried to outdo each other. It was all about the West Indies team," said Ambrose.
Now Ambrose is thrilled to join his former pace mate Walsh in the Hall of Fame and recalls being "very happy? for him last year.
Asked to pick the best batsman he had ever faced, Ambrose found it difficult to list a name
"That is extremely difficult to answer, because I played against many great batsmen in my time. If I were to name a few then Sachin Tendulkar, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, they are so many. It is hard to really pick out one from all these great cricketers, list goes on and on. Someone like Jacques Kallis is a great cricketer, a great all-rounder really," lists Ambrose.
For now as he looks to spend the rest of his life away from the game, Ambrose wants history to remember him fondly.
"I just want history to remember me as someone who gave his all for West Indies and for any team that I played for. As a professional who always played fair. Above all they must remember me as a great fast bowler," signed off Ambrose.