RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Curtly Ambrose - Time to Talk with Richard Sydenham
Curtly Ambrose - Time to Talk with Richard Sydenham
Forewords by Richie Benaud and Steve Waugh

Distributed in India by Pan Macmillan India

and available on Amazon and Flipkart

Price in India: Rs.599/-

Pages: 282

Sir Curtly Ambrose, renowned for silence, has finally broken his silence with the publication of an autobiography entitled `Time to Talk`, in which he tries to ally some myths about his international cricket career. "I preferred to let the ball do the talking for me. That`s why the title of the book is so significant. From not talking to now talking."

During his glittering Test career, he had captured 405 wickets at an average of 20.99 in 98 Tests, including 22 five-wicket hauls and three instances of ten wickets in a Test match. He remains the only one among eleven bowlers with 400 wickets or more in Tests to have produced a bowling average of less than 21.

Richie Benaud considered him a high-class bowler and cricketer. In his foreword, he has paid a rich tribute to him: "I have found a good way to judge bowling abilities of those I am watching is to consider how I would have batted against them. With Curtly, I rated him as someone against whom I would have had a great deal of difficulty and I am full of admiration for what he achieved in his splendid career."

Not winning a World Cup trophy for the West Indies has been Ambrose's biggest disappointment. "The 1996 World Cup should have had West Indies' name inscribed on the trophy - and would have - had we not blown our golden opportunity in the semi-final in a crazy spell of cricket that still haunts me to this day. That World Cup remains a frustration and a disappointment to me because I wanted to win a World Cup medal and never did. In my other two World Cups, 1992 and 1999, we were never in them and were eliminated early so we had no chance."

Former Australian captain, Steve Waugh calls him the most complete bowler he has played against during his eighteen-year international career. In his foreword, he remarks: "the guy who tormented Australian teams more than anyone else. He seemed to revel in being the leader of the pack and assumed the mantle with a natural ease. He was a supreme fast-bowling machine whose languid approach to the crease, while mesmerising to the crowd, was both terrifying and often debilitating for the batsman, as he nervously awaited the impending interrogation."

In a chapter, namely, The Greats According to Me, Curtly Ambrose has selected his greatest team - or thirteen in fact. Two Indians figure in this list - Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. The other eleven players being Graham Gooch, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Richard Hadlee, Wasim Akram, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Ian Botham and David Gower. (Sunil Gavaskar had posted 13 Test hundreds against West Indies and not 14 as mentioned in the book - page 267 - a record by any batsman against the West Indies).

According to Ambrose, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar "were two different kinds of players; two greats who I would have in my side all the time. I would never want to compare them in terms of who was the better player because they were so different."

Ambrose had played six seasons with Northamptonshire but he has shown his disappointment as the county never looked after him as well as he believes they should have. Their conduct towards him was at times disrespectful considering he was the number one ranked bowler in the world for much of the time he was associated with them.

Summing up his career, Ambrose commented: "I had no regrets entering my retirement from cricket and it felt good at first to be able to do what I wanted, enjoy my newly built house, move my family in and just go about life as I wanted rather than have to follow a schedule handed to me by the West Indies Cricket Board. It was a huge honour for me to play for West Indies for twelve and a half years and I feel great pride in my achievements and those of the team."

Music has always been a part of Curtly's life - from when he was a little boy growing up, listening to music and enjoying live bands. Long before cricket, at home in Swetes, he manufactured some makeshift drums from old milk tins that he would put on the end of a stick and beat, so his musical juices were flowing at an early age. And since his retirement, he has been a part of bands apart from forming his own group.

The book is a quality product from Aurum Press Ltd., deserving 100% marks for production and designing apart from extraordinary colour photographs.