When Curtly Ambrose threatened to “knock out” Steve Waugh
Designed by Srushti Takale

The cricketers from the Caribbean are the friendliest but don’t test their fiery temper. In 1995, during a Test at Trinidad and Tobago, Australian batsman Steve Waugh decided to test Curtly Ambrose and the result could have led to one of the ugliest incidents in cricket.

West Indian legend Ambrose, who is now the side’s bowling coach, opened up about the incident in his autobiography, Curtly Ambrose – Time to talk and admitted that he wanted to “knock out” Waugh during the on-field heated exchange. The angry bowler had to be stopped by captain Richie Richardson as he came very close to a physical altercation.

Excerpts from Ambrose’s book:

“We had our battles previously but nothing was ever said so I thought this was disrespectful. He had scored runs against me in the past and I had never said anything. And here in Trinidad I was controlling the situation, had the better of him and he said this, so I wasn’t happy. I had always respected him and figured he respected me as well.”

“I approached Steve Waugh and asked him if he’d sworn at me. That’s when he snapped back, ‘I can say what I want to say’, which was as good as admitting he’d sworn at me.”

“That was when I ripped into him and let him have it: ‘Man, don’t you effing swear at me again.’ And I don’t swear a lot so for me to use expletives it was clear that my anger was at boiling point.

I lost it. If he had said nothing to what I had asked him, or even told me he didn’t swear, it would have ended right there, but when he came back at me again with all guns blazing, there was no holding back. I got seriously heated. I told him, ‘Man, I will knock you out here and now. I don’t care if I have no career left’. That was when Richie intervened and told me to forget about it, and it was a good job he did because my ability to restrain myself was gone.”

Ambrose and Waugh were reported by the umpired and were summoned by the match referee but escaped punishments. Australia went on to win the historic series in Caribbean, marking their first series win against West Indies since 1975 and all to their credit, they haven’t lost to them since then.