“My only concern is we have to get runs on the board”- Curtly Ambrose believes the West Indies have firepower to bowl England out twice

Curtly Ambrose believes the West Indies possess the fast bowlers to derail Bazball this summer – not that the great man has much time for the label personally.

Speaking before the three-match Test series that gets under way at Lord’s on Wednesday, Ambrose dismissed England’s ultra-aggressive approach under Ben Stokes these past two years as little more than a “fancy name” and believes it could well be shown up as such.

“This Bazball thing, I never gave it much thought to be honest,” said Ambrose, the scourge of English lineups during his time. “West Indies teams back in the days, Australian teams back in the day, they always had aggressive players.

“So what England are going about – going on the attack and all that stuff – is nothing new. Bazball is a fancy name but I never thought about it for a second. We know the English [in the past] tended to play cricket a little bit differently; maybe a bit slower. All of a sudden they decide to go on the attack and create a new name. I don’t want to hear about it.”

Even with Kemar Roach missing because of injury, the West Indies attack looks impressive on paper. Pace comes from Alzarri Joseph, while Jayden Seales, also part of the side that won the Richards-Botham Trophy at home in 2022, has taken his Test wickets at 24 runs apiece so far and spent the first part of the summer acclimatizing at Sussex.

Then there is Shamar Joseph, the breakout seven-wicket star of that historic victory at the Gabba in January when, despite a broken toe and only a year after his first-class debut, he ran through Australia like a dose of salts.

Add the experience of Jason Holder as the all-rounder and there is cause for optimism; that is provided a batting lineup that boasts 16 Test centuries – 12 of which have been scored by the skipper, Kraigg Brathwaite, alone – can deliver the requisite runs.

“Their chances are good,” said Ambrose. “My only concern is you have to get runs on the board. I believe if we score heavily, we have the firepower to bowl England out twice.

We have to put runs on the board, and that has been the problem over the years. The bowlers have to do too much, and have to defend small totals.”

Ambrose has been credited in part for the rise of Shamar Joseph in particular after their paths crossed at a fast-bowling camp in Guyana two years ago.

It is a connection the 60-year-old is keen to play down, however, even if his excitement about the quick from the remote village of Baracara is palpable.

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