Yello Interviews: West Indian Cricketer Sunil Ambris
by Karen Rollins Jul 1, 2019
Vincentian cricketer Sunil Ambris, 26, was first called up to the West Indies team in 2017.
Sunil made his One-Day International debut against England at the Rose Bowl, Hampshire in September and a couple of months later he played his first WI Test match against New Zealand.
Unfortunately, Sunil broke his arm during his Test debut, but he’s now fully recovered, and recently regained his place in the WI one-day team after replacing injured all-rounder Andre Russell at the ICC Cricket World Cup competition.
Yello chatted with Sunil while he was training in St Vincent and the Grenadines about his professional cricket career.
Describe yourself using three words.
Very quiet; determined and fun-loving.
When did you first discover your talent for cricket?
My father got me into cricket at a young age. My brother was playing as well while I was growing up in Mesopotamia. Once I started playing, I just loved it.
How did you get into the West Indies team?
In 2012 I was playing domestic cricket for the Combined Campuses and Colleges and doing well.
I started playing for the St Vincent senior team at the age of 17 and from there it took me a couple of years to get into the Windward Islands side. I scored 114 (from 200 balls) on debut and I was the youngest person ever to do that.
After a couple of years, I got into the West Indies side, but it was a rough start to my international career. I was injured during my Test debut and that kept me out for about a year.
Recently, I got the opportunity to play one-day cricket again for the West Indies. I became the first Vincentian to score an international 100 and that’s something I was working towards.
How did you cope with your injury?
It was easily the hardest time of my life. Not being able to play cricket for nine months was tough. Especially watching cricket and not being able to take part. All I wanted to do was get back onto the field because that’s what I do best.
Being at home, all I could really do was some running. My thoughts were all about getting over the injury and getting back to what I’m good at, what I love.
Who helped you the most during that time?
Lots of people supported me. My family – my mum, and my dad who was alive at that time. My brother, who played professional cricket as well, so he knew what it was like to be out for a while. He was always there offering support and encouragement.
My coach, Deighton Butler (former WI cricketer), was also there for me. Even though I couldn’t hold a bat, we did some fitness work together during my recovery, and he’s played a big role in getting me back to where I am today.
Did you wonder if you’d get back to playing at a high level again?
When I first got injured that was in the back of my head, but it quickly went away.
I knew that once I got back to playing, I’d do well, because I was determined to prove that I’m good enough to play at the international level.
I think I’m a naturally gifted player but it’s a skill that I’ve enhanced over the past few years. I’ve worked hard and improved over time.
What are your plans now?
Over the next year I want to be involved with the West Indies one-day team, but my main goal is to get back into the Test team. I have been out of the Test side for a couple of series now so that’s something I want to change.
I need to go into the first-class season and try to dominate. Last season I did well and was up there with the leading run scorers.
I want to maintain my play and keep my performances to a high standard.
What advice do you have for aspiring Caribbean cricketers?
It’s hard coming from the smaller islands because there are lots of obstacles, so you must be determined. The facilities might not match the other countries, but once you believe and you work towards that goal, anything is possible.
Know what you want, believe that you are good enough, and work very hard.
What do you think you’ll do after cricket?
I think I’ll still be involved in cricket when I finish playing, whether as a coach, trainer, physiotherapist or match referee. I’d also like to help the young ones by sharing my experiences.
Playing cricket has been my life so I think it’d be unfair to just walk away. I’d want to give back and still be involved somehow.
Please tell us something no-one, or only a few people, know about you.
I still fish in the Yambou river. I don’t eat any of the cray fish, but I catch them, and give them to people who eat them.
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