Ambrose striving for first Lord's final
Warwickshire’s Tim Ambrose is a huge admirer of Lancashire coach Peter Moores, but will be on a quest to tick off the one personal achievement which has so far eluded him when he faces his old mentor’s side in a Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-final tomorrow.
The Bears’ wicketkeeper knows his team face a difficult task when they travel to Old Trafford to face Moores’ men, having experienced the former England coach’s work up close both at international level and when the two were together at Sussex.
Moores has since revitalised the Red Rose’s fortunes, leading them to their first LV= County Championship title in 77 years last season, and is now looking to end a barren spell in one-day cricket by securing the CB40 title.
“I had a long-standing relationship with Mooresy, he was my first real coach down at Sussex and we did some great things down there,” Ambrose told ecb.co.uk.
“We’ve got some good memories of working together and he’s a man who I have the utmost respect for and I’m a very keen admirer of his work.
“The proof’s in the pudding - he’s gone up to Lancashire and they won the title last year and they’re playing good cricket this year, so he’s absolutely excellent at what he does and he’ll have them very much prepared and raring to go.”
The chance to play in the Lord’s final on September 15 will inspire Ambrose more than most after he missed out on Warwickshire’s CB40 success two years ago due to injury.
Most of the Bears’ current crop were involved in the three-wicket victory over Somerset that day, but injury robbed Ambrose of a chance to share in his team’s elation and he admits that is what drives him to book a return trip to the home of cricket.
“It’s probably the one thing in cricket that I’d like to do, that’s left for me to tick off,” he added.
“For me personally it's a big incentive. We’re really excited so it’d be great to get there. You get to the final and whatever happens, happens. You always guarantee a great day.”
Ambrose played a pivotal role in sending Warwickshire into their last-four showdown with Lancashire, notching an unbeaten 87 in their final group game with Yorkshire, but he admits the Bears have profited from a strong collective showing throughout their campaign.
“That’s the way we’ve worked all year,” Ambrose said.
“Someone’s put their hand up at different times. Everyone’s had an impact; it’s been a real squad effort not just 11 players. Everyone’s put their hand up, everyone’s made contributions. We’re chomping at the bit to be the one to do it on Saturday.”
Ambrose believes Warwickshire may be slight underdogs as the away side but insists they will not be intimidated by the thought of travelling to Old Trafford.
“Lancs are an excellent team and they’ve had a great campaign,” he concedes. “They’ve got home advantage as well so we go there maybe as slight underdogs but at the same time we’ve got a good record there in semi-finals in one-day cricket.”
Warwickshire will be able to call on all-rounder Chris Woakes tomorrow after he was released from England's NatWest Series squad.
Woakes will rejoin England ahead of the fourth one-day international against South Africa at Lord's.
Lancashire all-rounder Tom Smith is relishing the opportunity of welcoming Warwickshire to a hostile Old Trafford tomorrow.
”It was great to get a home semi-final,” he said.
“Old Trafford has been a strong place to play our one-day cricket this year and it’s going to be an exciting game tomorrow. Warwickshire will be a tough team, but we know at Old Trafford how to play and how to win.”
Smith has endured numerous injury problems this campaign but, after returning to the side, is looking to continue his recent fine form, which included a 44-ball century against Worcestershire.
“It’s been a frustrating season because I’ve have spent a lot out with injury,” he added. “Once I came back into the team it was nice and to put in a few good performances was even better.”