BCB fast bowling clinic targets long-term development
- Sir Curtly impressed by young talents on show
By Avenash Ramzan
The next generation of fast bowlers from the Ancient County of Berbice was given an opportunity to mingle in cricketing royalty at the Albion Community Centre Ground on Friday.
Sir Curtly Ambrose, the outstanding West Indies fast bowler of the 80s and 90s, willingly shared his vast knowledge to the eager bunch of young men as a three-day clinic got underway with much fervour and purpose.
Blessed with weather conducive for the predominantly outdoor activity, 46 budding fast bowlers, some young enough to play Under-15 cricket, were taken through the fundamentals of the fast bowling by the legendary Antiguan.
Ambrose, 58, took the participants through some spot bowling drills to commence the clinic, which is the brainchild of overseas-based Guyanese Dr. Frank Denbow and coordinated by the Berbice Cricket Board.
“We want these guys to consistently hit a good area on the pitch. What I’ve said to them, and I’ve said to many other fast bowlers, is that it doesn’t matter how fast you can bowl, it doesn’t matter how much you can seam or swing the ball and all the other variations, if you cannot consistently put the ball in a good spot- what we call line and length- then nothing will work,” Sir Curtly, who played 98 Tests and 176 ODIs for West Indies between 1988 and 2000, explained.
“An analogy I used is that you can’t build a house from the roof. You need a foundation; you need a base. So proper line and length on a consistent basis is the basic foundation of fast bowling.”
While he did not divulge specific names, Sir Curtly was impressed with some of the players on display.
Apart from the practical sessions, Sir Curtly, who took 405 Test wickets and 225 in ODIs, averaging under 25 in both formats, was observed in several group sessions throughout the day, having free-flowing conversations with the participants.
For president of the Berbice Cricket Board, Hilbert Foster, this is a significant step in the development of the next crop of fast bowlers.
And having one of the finest exponents of fast bowling to facilitate these session is an important step in that process.
“We’re known for producing spinners, but going forward we want to have as many fast bowlers as possible available to either play for Guyana or the West Indies,” Foster related.
The long-serving administrator touched on the rise of India’s fast bowling stocks in recent years, noting that the country did a similar project in the 1990s by inviting revered Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee to work with young fast bowlers.
“So we’re hoping that with the inspiration from Sir Curtly, who is one of the greatest fast bowlers to ever live, we could be able to get five of them to go on to play for Guyana and West Indies. (If that happens), this camp would have been a total success,” Foster reckoned.
The Guyana Cricket Board Vice-President and Cricket West Indies Director highlighted Demitri Cameron, Sylus Tyndall and West Indies Under-19 player Isai Thorne as budding fast bowling talents in the county.
Apart from the trio, the majority of the group is made up of players at the Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 levels, Foster highlighted.
“It’s a long-term investment,” he said of the clinic.
While this clinic is being executed by the Berbice Cricket Board, it is the brainchild of Denbow, who felt there was a need to invest in raw talents after being impressed by Thorne, who represented the West Indies in the recently concluded ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup in the Caribbean.
“I want all the players to be inspired by Sir Curtly and for them to rededicate themselves to being to be best that they can be,” Dr. Denbow said.
“I’m now looking for immediate results. What I’m looking for is improved performances, for a rededication, and the attitude adjustment so that they would so that they would give of their best and be the best that they can be. That’s what I’m looking for.”
Meanwhile, former Guyana batsman Nolan McKenzie, now an England-based coach, is simultaneously working with female and emerging batters at the same venue.