Best wants to star at favourite ground
Kingston, Jamaica — Tino Best has an eagerness about him. The livewire fast bowler is happy to be back in West Indies colours and is relishing the opportunity to “run in fast and have a go” at the New Zealand batsmen in the upcoming Digicel One-Day International Series.
Best, who has been on the regional first-class circuit for over a decade, is among the fastest bowlers in the Caribbean. He spoke about his passion for the game on Tuesday morning after the West Indies players had gym sessions and planning meetings as part of preparations for the opening encounter on Thursday at Sabina Park.
The Windies arrived in Jamaica early Monday from Florida where they beat the Black Caps 2-0 in the Digicel T20 Series at Central Broward Regional Park last weekend.
“I love Jamaican people ... I love playing in Jamaica. Sabina Park is up there among my favourite venues. It’s right here where I got my first Test wicket and I’ve done well playing here for Barbados as well. I enjoy the food, the culture, the atmosphere, and the people give me a lot of support,” Best said.
“The pitch here also has something for the faster bowlers, like myself, so I will look to run in and bowl as quickly as I can and get wickets for West Indies. Our attack is good. Andre Russell is a wicket-taker. Ravi Rampaul has been doing well for West Indies for the last year-and-a-half. We have a good mixture in our attack.”
Best believes his overall game has improved, especially under Head Coach Ottis Gibson, and that he is capable of cementing a place in the squad. He made his international debut back in 2003 as a fresh-faced 21-year-old at Kensington Oval in Barbados. Now, at age 30, he has matured and is looking to demonstrate that with his performances in the middle.
“I’m working on my variations. I’ve been given a job to bowl fast, try to create pressure and get early wickets, and I will give my all and try to do that. I’m looking forward to this opportunity as I join a winning unit,” Best said.
“The guys made a strong statement by winning in Florida. It feels good to be back in a winning circle and we will look to carry that formula into the One-Dayers when we get going later this week.”
Best has worked overtime on his batting. He demonstrated his ability with a brilliant 95 against England at Edgbaston last month. It was the highest score by a Number 11 in the history of Test cricket.
“I don’t see myself as a Number 11. I see myself as someone who can make a contribution with the bat. My job is basic. When I get the opportunity to bat with a specialist batsman, just to play each ball on merit and to play straight, as I was taught in my teenage years, and offer support. I also need to be more selective in the shots I attempt, and in general be a more mature cricketer,” he said.
The West Indies will have a full training session at Sabina Park on Wednesday morning. The first Digicel ODI is on Thursday at Sabina Park. First ball is 9.30 am (10.30 am Eastern Caribbean Time).
DIGICEL 2012 SERIES - New Zealand to West Indies
Upcoming matches (All times local)
Digicel One-Day International Series
July 5: 1st Digicel ODI – Sabina Park, Jamaica – 9:30 a.m.
July 7: 2nd Digicel ODI – Sabina Park – 9:30 a.m.
Ju11: 3rd Digicel ODI – Warner Park, St. Kitts – 9:30 a.m.
July 14: 4th Digicel ODI – Warner Park – 9:30 a.m.
July 16: 5th Digicel ODI – Warner Park – 9:30 a.m.
July 20-22: West Indies-A vs New Zealand – Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, Antigua – 10 a.m.
Digicel Test Series
July 25-29: 1st Digicel Test – Vivian Richards Cricket Ground – 10 a.m.
August 2-6: 2nd Digicel Test – Sabina Park – 10 a.m.