June 11, 2012

West Indies in England 2012

Tino Best: From the ridiculous to the sublime

Akhila Ranganna

On his return to Test cricket, Tino Best smashed 95 and has taken two wickets so far in England's first innings in the third Test at Edgbaston. Steve James, in The Telegraph writes that Best's 95 an was extraordinary innings, some return to Test cricket in his first match since 2009. It had been fun, frolicsome, and frustrating for England.

He is not really a No 11. This is his 15th Test, but only the second match in which he has been slated as the last man. He has actually batted at No 8 in five Tests, including four against England in the Caribbean in 2004
.

Later that year at Lord’s, Andrew Flintoff memorably sledged Best, then batting at No 9. “Mind the windows, Tino,” he said. Best, irked, attempted a wild slog and was stumped.

On Sunday Best was doing all the chirping. And, goodness, he likes it. Shaven-headed and barrel-chested, he has the build of a boxer, and the pre-bout chat to go with it.

Looking back on Best's innings, Sam Sheringham on bbc.co.uk writes that like a golfer admiring a straight drive, each of Best's boundaries was followed by a check finish and his fifty greeted by a lavish arm-wheeling celebration.

The crowd let out a collective sigh of disappointment before rising to their feet to acclaim an innings worthy of Flintoff in his prime.

As for the former England allrounder himself, he clearly enjoyed every minute of Best's breathtaking response to his eight-year-old jibe. "Nnnoooooooooo Tino!," he said on Twitter after the Bajan's dismissal. "He went for the windows to reach his 100! Well played sir, great entertainment, take a bow."

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Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

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