West Indies legend Curtly Ambrose was one of the best fast bowlers of his time. Running in at a height of 6 feet and 7 inches and delivering thunderbolts from over a height of 9 feet, Ambrose was one of the most difficult bowlers to encounter for any batter. Now commentator and coach, Ambrose spoke about the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in India this year and on the return of Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah, saying that his presence will make India favourites in the tournament at home and advised him to increase his pace gradually. ICC CWC 2023 will start in India from October 5 onwards and India will kickstart their campaign against Australia in Chennai on October 8.
“Jasprit Bumrah is a fine bowler and as he returns to the Indian team it will add a lot of depth and variety to the Indian attack. And his presence in the World Cup will make India favourites. He will bowl at the death and that’s what you need. Having said that, a comeback is never easy. Jasprit should go a little slow in the early stages. My advice to him will be to go gradually. If he starts to bowl full steam in every match it is not the best way to go about it.”
“He should give himself time to get back to full pace and take it a little slow on his return. That is how he can get back to his best. However much he bowls in training, match situations are different and in matches, he should not rush himself to bowl like he used to. Once he has a few matches under his belt, he can do what he used to do before the injury,” said Ambrose while speaking to Revsportz on the Backstage With Boria show.
He further added, “He makes you the favourites in the World Cup. He will bowl in every situation whenever his team needs him. He is the equivalent of Virat Kohli in the Indian bowling unit.”
Bumrah proved his fitness and form in the recently-concluded T20I series against Ireland. Leading a young Indian side to a 2-0 win in a three-match series, he took four wickets in two matches, with the best figures of 2/15.
Ambrose is very hopeful about Virat Kohli. Saying he is one of the best, Ambrose argued, “I have seen Virat for several years now and I do not need to tell you that he is a great player. And like every great player in history, he went through a lean period. But that does not mean he is finished or that he is over the hill or he is not the same player of old. He looked hungry to me, looked disciplined and fit. These are all important signs to observe. I think Virat can make a telling difference for India in the World Cup at home. He has all the talent and hunger to do so.”
Virat has been in good form this year. In 10 ODIs this year, he has scored 427 runs at an average of 53.37, with two tons and a fifty and a best of 166 against Sri Lanka.
In 17 matches across formats this year in 19 innings, he has scored 984 runs at an average of 54.66 with four centuries and two fifties. His best score is 186 against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Speaking on the India-Pakistan clash he said, “It is one of the best cricket games you can watch as a fan. Two very good sides with very good fast bowlers. As a fast bowler, I cannot emphasise the importance of fast bowlers more. Both these teams have many in their ranks. And with Bumrah back, India has got their strength back. It should be a fantastic clash for the fans to watch. And in India, every seat will be full, which will make it a real spectacle.”
Finally, he reckons India can break the ICC trophy jinx at home. “You surely have a chance. But there are other good teams as well. Australia, England, Pakistan are some of them. The question is how well will Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid handle pressure. At home, there will be pressure on India. There will be huge crowds in the stadiums. The media will be following every story. There will be a huge build-up to the event. How well do you handle the pressure could define your campaign. If you handle it well and seek the positives out of it, there is reason to believe India will do well in the World Cup. Rohit Sharma is a good captain and we have seen that over the years so there is every reason for you to be hopeful. It will not be easy, however. Winning a World Cup can never be easy and India will need to play their best to do so,” he concluded.
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