Lara did not handle fame very well: Curtly Ambrose
Curtly Ambrose earned a reputation of not interacting with reporters during his playing days. But he has opened up now because of his autobiography, Time to Talk. He spoke on various subjects including some incidents involving the legendary Brian Lara and Steve Waugh. Here are some excerpts:
On his refusal to do interviews:
That was something I was branded with because I have never wanted to do interviews. But I never said those particular words. It was never personal. I was not one of those players who talked to some reporters and not others. I treated everyone the same way. I politely declined interviews. But Curtly Ambrose never said ‘Curtly talks to no man.’
On the sweat band incident with Dean Jones:
I was genuinely angry. Really furious. The reason was that everyone knew I had worn wrist bands throughout my career. And I had played against Jones quite a lot. It was the first time in my whole career I had been asked to remove the wrist band. I found that request very strange. I could not understand why. I was just furious. Jones knew I had always worn them and I was genuinely upset.
On bowling 9 no-balls in a single over:
I honestly don’t know. It does not make sense. It was one of those days I just don’t know what happened. I kept going over the mark. I tried everything. I used all my experience. I slowed down my run-up. I bowled with a little shorter run-up. Still I went over. To this very day I still don’t know what the problem was. It was the only time in my career it happened. Some people said it was the Fremantle Doctor. I said no, I have played in Perth many times. It was one of those freakish moments I could not do anything about.
On his relationship with Lara:
Well, we all know what a great batsman he was. No argument there. But he can be complex at times. Brian came into cricket at a very young age and moved to super-stardom in no time. Sometimes I felt he did not handle fame very well because he was so young. Brian and I get along well but there are times when I felt he stepped out of line and I am the sort of person who quickly pulls people back when they are getting out of hand. Lara was no exception.
I let him know exactly what I felt about his behaviour and attitude. And I did it in no uncertain terms. He understood every word I said but there was no animosity or bad feelings between us. After the argument between he and I, he went and scored three centuries in a row against England.
On the hotel room incident with Lara:
Brian and I were roommates. It was a one-off situation when he really got me very upset with him. I was so furious with him. I did not say I would kill him. I said if he touched any part of the room which was my area, the West Indies would be one batsman short. But we get along well. He used to help out in the rooms in Trinidad before he played Tests. When he did play Tests I used to tease him by saying he had come a long way from the days when he used to put out my shirt in Trinidad.
On West Indies’ chances against Australia:
As a West Indian and bowling coach, I would readily said yes. But Australia are a strong team. It will be a tough series for us ... We are going to prepare ourselves the best way we can to try and compete. We are not going to lie down. We are not going to be walked over. We are going to compete. We have nothing to lose. Everyone expects Australia to beat us. Sometimes when you are like that, you tend to play a lot better. We are not the team under pressure. It is not going to be easy but we are ready.