Timothy Raymond Ambrose
December 01, 1982, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Right hand bat
Middle order batter
Merewether Selective High, NSW
Tim Ambrose could be forgiven for considering himself the forgotten man of English cricket. In the last of his 11 Tests, in Barbados in early 2009, Ambrose made an unbeaten 76 and kept tidily enough in tricky conditions as West Indies batted for the best part of 200 overs.
Sent back to county cricket and ordered to score more runs, he duly made a century for England Lions against the touring West Indies and another against Hampshire in the Championship. But the selectors never rang again. Not even to offer an explanation.
Perhaps they felt his batting was over-reliant upon the cut. Perhaps they felt that he was prone to fluctuations in form that rendered him somewhat unreliable. But in an age when many keepers are manufactured, Ambrose was highly accomplished with the gloves and, by jettisoning him when he was just 26, England probably never saw the best of him.
Born in Australia, Ambrose utilised the British passport he gained via his mother to move to the UK as a 17-year-old in 2000. He soon signed for Sussex and, as naturally gifted keeper and batsman, he made his first-class debut the following year and, by 2003, the year Sussex won the first Championship title in their history, he had gained the lion's share of the keeping duties from Matt Prior. He also scored more than 900 runs at an average in excess of 40.
The contest between the two of them was to be a theme of Ambrose's career. Even though there were times when he took the gloves from Prior for Sussex and England, Prior always returned stronger to reclaim his position.
For that reason, Ambrose took the decision to leave Sussex at the end of 2005 and make a new start at Warwickshire. He made a century in his second first-class game for the team and started the 2007 season with a career-best 251 not out against Worcestershire. The England selectors took notice.
His Test debut came in New Zealand. After a half-century on debut, he made a century at Wellington in his second match that turned the series in England's favour. But he was unable to sustain that form and, by the time England left for their tour of India, he was Prior's reserve once again. His one return, for that game in Barbados, came when Prior flew home to witness the birth of his first child.
Ambrose's form fell away sharply in 2010 and he averaged only 13 with the bat. He later revealed he had been suffering from an episode of depression and, by the end of that season with his contract finished and his love for the game ebbing, he cleared his locker at Edgbaston in expectation that his career was over.
Warwickshire were patient, though. With the help of a psychologist, he recovered something approaching his best form in 2011 and then played a key role in his side's Championship triumph of 2012. Despite some problems with a persistent hip problem, he retained that form in the following three seasons and featured in Birmingham's NatWest T20 Blast success in 2014.
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