Australia v West Indies: What Curtly Ambrose might have had to say

Digitally altered image by Steve KiprillisLook me in the eye, all of you. Yeah, scary, right? Good. Because Curtly’s got a few things to say.

You know the worst thing about this? It’s just what everyone expected. We did. They did. Why do you think they put us in Hobart, freezing our whatsits off? Actually, it’s even worse than everyone expected. Did you see the crowd? Schoolkids! That’s what we’ve come to: we’re the clowns. They want to know how we managed to beat England. Come to think of it, how did we beat England?

I’ll let you in on a little secret: they want us to come good here. They really do. It’s not like we’re England or South Africa. Back in the day, we kept walking all over their team, and they loved us anyway. We were rock stars. Calypso cricket was a thing. That’s the two things I remember about Australia then: they loved us, and they kept coming to the cricket, waiting for the day their team came good. The more they lost, the more they came. We need a bit of that now.

Can’t imagine it went down well with AB, all that losing, and all that man love for us (OK, women love, too). But he was a dog with a bone; he wouldn’t let go. He wanted the last laugh, and he got it. We need a bit of that now, too.

Cricket needs it. Have a look at it from Australia’s point of view. They don’t really want to play England and India all the time, you know. But they don’t want to spend their careers beating up on no-hopers, either. It gets boring. Believe me, I know. They need us to come good.

Here’s a bit of history for you. 1984. We beat them so bad we didn’t lose a second innings wicket for the series. Five Tests, zero second innings wickets. In Australia the next summer, more of the same. You know what happened? The next time they were meant to come to the Caribbean, in 1988, they cancelled. They were just starting to get a team together and didn’t want us kicking their asses again.

That’s how much better than them we were then. So it is possible to turn these ships around. But you gotta want it. Really, really want it.

Didn’t we talk about getting around Jason? He’s having a crack. He always does. But you’re going to break his heart. At least in Groundhog Day SOME good things happened. Yeah, he misses tricks out there. But you’re supposed to be a team. Talk to him. I could afford to be too cool to talk. But you can’t.

There’s talent in this team. We’ve talked about that, too. Look at Darren Bravo, little Lara. Look at Kraigg: plenty of guts there. Hope they stay on his cut shot. Yeah, we’ve got a long way to go. But an innings and 200? They didn’t even sledge us. That hurts. That really hurts. They didn’t dare to sledge me. They don’t bother to sledge you.

And how about a bit of life out there? A bit of animation? I know we’re meant to be the cool cats, but I don’t know if you realise how hard it is to carry off cool when you’re getting beat up like this. It looks plain ridiculous. I know the broody, moody thing was my schtick, but I could get away with it. You can’t.

You guys, you’ve gotta show you care. Marlon, is anyone at home? You know, when your only claim to fame is that you’ve got the coolest sunglasses in Test cricket, you really should have a good look at yourself. Use the sunnies.

I’ll tell you something else for nothing: the Aussies aren’t that good. Look at the last four or five years: they’re break-even. Half their blokes are still trying to get going in Test cricket. Yeah, Patto hit the deck hard today, but that’s what Test bowlers are meant to do. Test batsmen are meant to deal with it. Yeah, Voges is a nice player, in his own way. But we’re making him look like Viv Richards. And as for Shaun Marsh, for your information, the off stump is the one to the RIGHT of middle stump, OK?

Now, I know there’s a big meeting on in St Lucia tomorrow. They’re even talking about it here; I guess it’s because no one knows what’s going to happen, which is more than you can say for the cricket. So there they are in their ivory towers, pulling our cricket apart. Frankly, it’s none of their business, patronising ponces. If they ask me about it, I’m just going to give ’em the stare.

But, really, it’s none of our business, either. That’s the suits, over there, talking about the future. We’re here, dealing with the now. Yeah, I know things are pretty basic at home. They always were, even when we were No.1. You want better. I want better. But we’re never going to get it while we’re playing like this.

You know what’s next? Boxing Day. None of you guys have done Boxing Day, but I have. I OWNED it. Boxing Day is huge. Surely you’re not going to let Curly down on Boxing Day? I’m begging you.

Heh, who’s that down the back, in the purple T-shirt? Is that you, Darren? Darren Sammy? Oh, I see. You need to use this room now for the Hurricanes. OK, we’ll be over by the gents. Say “hi” to Chris for me when you see him.

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