Tim Ambrose talks about his nightmare summer
INSTEAD of watching the Melbourne and Sydney Ashes Tests from behind the stumps Tim Ambrose will be sitting in the stands as a spectator. It follows a dramatic fall from favour which led to him considering quitting cricket last summer.
While former Sussex team-mate Matt Prior has made the England wicketkeeping slot his own, things have not gone so well for Ambrose. A half-century on the last of his 11 Test appearances in Bridgetown in March 2009 did not hint at what was to come: he was dropped by Warwickshire midway through last season and appeared to part company with the county when he cleared his dressing-room locker in September.
Ambrose, 28, persuaded the county to take him back on a one-year contract but on a reduced salary, having explained that his decline in form – 267 Championship runs at an average of barely 13 last season – was the consequence of having to grapple with personal problems.
“I won’t discuss what they were, they are private,” says Ambrose. “There were issues that had to be dealt with, I thought that I had dealt with them last winter but I hadn’t.
“Last season was a bit of a haze. No one wants to bring their personal life to work but there were things that I needed to get straight off the field and I probably wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be playing professional cricket.”
Warwickshire briefly recalled Ambrose in August but a pair in a day in the Championship defeat by Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge marked the low point of his season and he was quickly replaced by Richard Johnson.
“Looking back, being recalled didn’t help me,” Ambrose says. “I had gone away and got some runs in a second-team game but I hadn’t got things sorted out in my personal life.
“I did get disillusioned and I thought about quitting but clearing the locker was just impetuosity. I have to thank the club and Ashley Giles for their understanding and will aim to repay them next season.”
Ambrose is spending the winter in Australia playing for the Mosman club in Sydney, which explains his presence in the stands at the SCG and MCG. “Will I feel jealous of the England players playing in the Ashes? I enjoyed the time I had playing for England, no one can take away that experience but I’ve got used to not being part of it.”