Sport

Sunil shines through

Batsman Ambris savours Windies experience, hungry for more

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

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It is often said that fortune favours the brave, but in Sunil Ambris's estimation, his call-up to the senior West Indies squad was the result of pure hard work paying dividends.

After waiting in the wings for quite some time, Ambris now has the opportunity to kick the proverbial door wide open on his international 'Test' career, following a series of consistent performances in different formats across his first class career.

Ambris smashed 608 runs at an average of 43 for Windward Islands Volcanoes in the last first class season, and was one of the leading scorers in the Regional Super50 earlier this year when he pummelled 423 runs at an average of 70.

However, it was the Vincentian's outstanding returns in the West Indies 'A' set-up during Sri Lanka A's just-concluded tour that caught the eye of the selectors, and he welcomed the invitation with humility.

In the three-match 'Test' series against Sri Lanka 'A', Ambris accumulated 278 runs, including two composed centuries of 106 and 101 in the first and third fixtures, as he emerged the leading batsman in the series with an average of 55.

“My test call-up is something that I have been working towards for a while now, I have always been putting in the work, wanting to play Test cricket, and now I have finally accomplished that so I am quite happy,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Sunday.

“I thought my performance was good, but there is always room for improvement. I think I could bat for longer periods and scoring is not going to be a problem for me. But batting longer periods and picking the right balls to score off, that is something I need to work on and will be working on hard,” he added.

The 24-year-old, who played a single One-Day International (ODI) in the five-match series against England last September, is the only new face in the 15-man West Indies squad for the upcoming two-Test series against New Zealand starting later this month.

He replaces Kyle Hope who failed in successive series against England and Zimbabwe recently.

Apart from Hope, selectors have kept faith with the unit that lost 2-1 to England last August but impressed in winning the Caribbean side their first Test on English soil in 17 years with the stunning result at Headingley.

Though happy he has been rewarded for his recent prolific scoring and is now a part of the West Indies touring party to face the Black Caps, Ambris, who averages 31 from 38 first class matches, pointed out that breaking into the final 11 would be the icing on the cake for his impressive season.

“But while I am happy for the call-up, I would want to get into the playing 11. So going in, I know it is going to be hard to break into the 11, but that is my aim right now and once I get in, then I will continue to put in the work and do whatever is necessary to ensure I stay there.

“When I get there I will try my best to do whatever it is for the team,” the stroke-maker stressed.

Ambris also played a hand in propelling West Indies 'A' to a series-levelling 45-run victory against Sri Lanka 'A' in their final ODI contest at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium on Sunday.

He shared a 41-run, third-wicket stand with Shamarh Brooks, but was disappointingly run out for 20.

His side went on to make 152 and later bowled out the visitors for 107.

“It is unfortunate that we didn't win the series. We didn't play the best of cricket when it was necessary, but I think the guys tried and I must give the Sri Lankans kudos because they played well and they came up when it was necessary,” he said in a post-game interview.

The first Test against New Zealand bowls off on December 1 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, with the second starting eight days later at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

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