Champion fast bowler Curtly Ambrose firmly believes both the West Indies and Test cricket in general can rise again.
Ambrose took 405 wickets in a 98-Test career that ran over the final years of the Windies’ 20-year reign as cricket’s No.1 team.
Since his retirement in 2000, the Windies have slipped back to now sit as Test cricket’s eighth-ranked nation, with only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe below them.
Ambrose says while it’s unlikely the Windies will produce another generation of success like they did from the mid-70s to mid-90s, it’s certainly possible to get them back at cricket’s top table.
“When you look at the team from the mid-70s to the mid-90s, that 20-year period, we’ve got to be honest, how can you really find that kind of players again?,” said Ambrose, now the team’s bowling coach.
“To really dominate world cricket for 15-20 years. That is unheard of, it’s almost impossible.
“I’m a bit of a realist. I would not want to judge today with the guys from that era. It’s two different kinds of players.
“I believe we still have enough talent that once the guys are willing to listen, are willing to learn, and the right structure put in place … from the grassroots level, right through, first class cricket right up to international cricket.
“Once we’ve got the right systems in place I believe we can be a force again in world cricket.
“My immediate intention right now is to try and get the guys moving up the ICC rankings. If we get to at least number four in world cricket, then we can start thinking about number one.”
It’s 20 years since Australia ended the Windies’ 15-year run without a series loss by regaining the Frank Worrell Trophy in 1995.
Ambrose, who recently released an autobiography called “Time to Talk”, says since that era-defining series Test cricket has lost its way.
He says restrictions on bowlers, such as limiting the number of bouncers they can bowl in an over, bigger bats and flatter pitches have tipped the balance too far in favour of batsmen.
“Spectators love that kind of competition and we used to have that back in our day,” he said.
“I’ve had some serious battles with some great players during my time. That’s one of the reasons that our stadiums were always filled, people knew they were going to see top quality cricket, highly competitive. Today the cricket is so one-sided.
“There’s too many rules and regulations in cricket. It’s killing the cricket. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the powers that be, whomever, they need to revisit these rules and regulations. They need to bring back excitement into cricket.”