The rebirth of Tino Best
BIRMINGHAM, England – Tino Best said his record-setting innings of 95 against England in the third and final Test on Sunday, marked “the rebirth” of his international career for West Indies.
The ebullient Windies fast bowler grabbed centre stage with entertaining, rearguard batting that helped the visitors post 426 in their first innings on the scheduled penultimate day at Edgbaston.
When it was over, Best had etched his name in the record books, collecting the highest score batting at No.11 in Test history, and featuring in a record 137-run, last-wicket stand with wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin, who was undefeated on 107.
“To be able to showcase my talent to the World really felt good,” said Best, whose great uncle Carlisle once scored a Test hundred against the same opponents 22 years ago in his native Barbados.
“I’m looking at this as my ‘rebirth’ to international cricket and I want to make sure that I allow people to remember me for the right reasons.”
He added: “When I arrived at the crease, Denesh just told me to just back myself. He knew that I could hit the ball well. He told me not to get bogged down, if the ball is in my arc lick it away, and we focussed on building 10-run partnerships.
“It turned out to be a record partnership and I am very grateful to be part of such a special moment, and batting to allow Denesh to get his hundred.”
Best is playing his first Test in more than three years and said he rued the shot that brought his dismissal.
But he felt putting his side in an impregnable position was even more important.
“This opportunity was a blessing and I just hope the people around me continue to encourage me,” he said.
“People like West Indies coach Ottis Gibson with my bowling and assistant coach Toby Radford with my batting.
“I just want to stay humble and keep working with the coaching staff to improve my game and believe in my ability.
“It is not a case of me not believing in myself, but it is about executing properly – and that’s what it is all about.”
Best returned to grab two wickets for 37 runs from 12 overs and clocked deliveries close to 92 miles-an-hour.
He had England captain Andrew Strauss brilliantly caught at first slip by Darren Bravo to help West Indies make early inroads into the hosts’ batting, and later bowled rookie Jonny Bairstow to keep the balance of power in the visitors favour.
“I always back myself to bowl quickly,” he said. “I have been really, really working hard back home in the Caribbean.
“I missed out on selection for the five Digicel One-day Internationals against Australia earlier this year in the Caribbean and the Tests too.”
He added: “But I just decided to hit the gym hard, and when coach Gibson got any opportunity to be in Barbados I would work with him.
“I grabbed my chance [this day] and I ran in and bowled as quickly as I could.”