Tim Ambrose is “very proud” of his achievement of reaching 1,000 dismissals across all formats – but, alongside reflecting with pride, Warwickshire’s wicketkeeper is also still looking forward with excitement.
Ambrose last week became only the second Bears keeper, after Geoff Humpage, to reach 1,000 dismissals. Humpage, a stalwart of the 1970s and 1980s, remains ahead for now with 1,020 with Ambrose second, followed by Tiger Smith (843) and Keith Piper (802).
Since arriving at Edgbaston in 2006, ‘Amby’ has been an integral part of successive generations of trophy-winning Bears team.
The 36-year-old’s form behind the stumps remains as good as ever – and he would love to share in the success which he believes lies ahead as new talent fledges in the squad.
Despite an extraordinary injury glut which has decimated the bowling attack and ruled out their best batsman, Warwickshire have dug deep to record excellent Specsavers County Championship wins over Surrey and Yorkshire in recent weeks.
Ambrose believes those wins, against two of the biggest counties in the game, shows that Warwickshire’s young squad is ready to “step out of the shadows” of Bears teams of the past.
“We know that Warwickshire teams have done this and done that and that amazing history should be celebrated,” he said. “But this group has started to step out of that shadow.
“It’s been great to see players expressing themselves and the team developing its personality and its traits and its own identity and it’s really exciting to watch. You can’t dictate that to people, they have to create it themselves.
“The performance at York summed it up, perhaps most of all the fielding. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it in red-ball cricket. It was outstanding to a man and that’s a really good sign of where is a team is in terms of focus, concentration, commitment and professionalism.
“The guys here are very clear about what they want to achieve for Warwickshire and that makes me excited about the future.
“I am very proud of the achievement of 1,000 dismissals and to have been a part of so many special moments and great memories, but hopefully there are plenty more to come. I would love to carry on being part of it as long as I am deemed to be doing a good enough job.
“I have been very pleased with my keeping this season. I could have scored more runs but had a little spell where I got a bad decision and a run out so hopefully runs are round the corner.”
The reaction from team-mates, opponents and fans to Ambrose’s 1,000 milestone underlined the respect in which he is held. Along with captain Jeetan Patel, the former England player is one of the elder statesman in a Bears first-team squad composed mostly of players in their teens or early-20s – and while the young guns benefit from Amby’s nous, he feeds off their energy.
“In the last month a couple of the younger guys who have come into the first team have said to me, ‘wow, that was so much fun,’ he said.
“They are loving the enthusiasm and togetherness and you can feel the buzz. There are plenty more high and lows and challenges ahead but if we stay true to the character of this squad who knows where it will lead?
“I’m still loving playing for Warwickshire. I feel fit and healthy and, most importantly, I feel like I have still got something to give to this group.
“That’s what keeps driving me on to play and if we carry on playing cricket the way we are, with the kind of attitude, then I want to be involved as long as I can be.”