Sunday, April 21, 2024

All fired up


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Tino Best’s bowling has always had some heat to it.
Seems he’s got the Fire In Babylon too.
After spending the last two years in the wilderness of international cricket, the animated Bajan pacer is crediting the publicly-acclaimed documentary of West Indies cricket for a change in attitude that has led to his most recent recall to the maroon cap.
Best revealed the hit film as his new source of inspiration during yesterday’s warm-up game at 3Ws Oval just one day after being named in the 13-man squad for the first three Digicel One-Day Internationals.
“It just showed me how much the West Indian people appreciate cricket,” said the 30-year-old fast-bowler of watching Fire In Babylon.
“To hear Sir Vivian, and all the great fast bowlers like Mikey Holding, Roberts and those guys talk about what West Indian cricket means to us it really made me look in the mirror and say, “you know what, I really have to buckle down and really work hard to attain the opportunity to play for the West Indies again”.
“I think it’s what really changed my attitude and my mannerisms and my career to be quite honest. To don the maroon cap again is a privilege and at the end of the day, as Sir Vivian said, cricket is bigger than us so we have to love it and appreciate it when we have it,” he added.
The recall to the regional squad – his first since last playing in 2009 – is the latest in what has been a dramatic turnaround in an otherwise contentious international career.
Blessed with express pace and great athleticism, Best made his West Indies debut against Australia in 2003, but his oft erratic spells and even more volatile personality led to the fiery bowler appearing in just 14 Tests and 12 ODIs over nine years.
That much-criticised over-exuberance even led to him being dropped from Barbados’ squad for a regional four-day game against England Lions just last season following a run-in with the team trainer.
It might have cost him an earlier call-up as Best just missed out on making the World Cup team only one month later, having been named a reserve.
“I said once I changed myself things will change around me and that’s exactly what happened,” the seasoned pacer said of the turnaround.
“Sometimes, you think that people around you are trying to get you down, so I think it was just a situation of me looking in the mirror and saying to myself it’s my fault and try not to blame everybody around me and change my attitude and my work ethic.”
Since then, he has made his recall an almost formality, bouncing back with a bang by taking ten wickets at an average of 11 in this year’s Caribbean T20 before accounting for a further 14 scalps in the ongoing four-day competition.
Now, the destructive fast bowler is hoping to translate that form into success against the Aussies.
“I’m a young man, only 30 years old, and I always said once I do well, perform well and bowl quick . . . keep my pace up there with the likes of Fidel and Kemar, there was always an opportunity [to play for the West Indies],” said Best.
“For the last year and a half, two years, I’ve been working really hard with coach [Vasbert] Drakes so a lot of credit must go to him. I just tried to get my action a lot tighter and try to get the ball to swing because you know I’m a little older so you know you have to come and learn the trade a lot more.
“I’ve improved in that aspect of my cricket so it’s left up now to when I get to the international level to see how far I’ve come,” he added.
Best wasted no opportunity in justifying the selectors’ faith, taking six wickets during yesterday’s limited overs practice game, removing the likes of Marlon Samuels, the Bravo brothers, Dwayne and Darren, new opener Johnson Charles and compatriot Dwayne Smith in his first spell, to claim the first five wickets.


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