Paul Merwood Best
March 08, 1991, Nuneaton, Warwickshire
Left hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
Paul Best was a left-arm spinner and solid batsman who seemed destined for a decent career in the game before injury intervened. His retirement just before the start of the 2015 season because two stress fractures had "taken their toll" on his body was a sad end for a batsman / left-arm spinner who had been promising enough to captain both England U19s and Warwickshire second X1 while still in his teens and who retired with a short but impressive first-class record.
Best scored a half-century on first-class debut (for Cambridge MCCU against Essex) in 2011 and followed it with a five-wicket haul in his next match (against Middlesex). After a brief glimpse of Championship action with Warwickshire, he set-up a rare victory for Cambridge MCCU over a county, with an innings of 150 against a Surrey team captained Kevin Pietersen. It was the first time a first-class county had been defeated at Fenner's having been bowled out in their second innings since 1982.
In the traditional first-class fixture against Oxford University at Lord's (he studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Homerton, Cambridge), he followed a haul of 6-86 in the first-class match with 61 from 30 balls in the 50-over encounter.
He was then loaned by Warwickshire to Northants, rendering him the first man to play for four first-class counties (Warwickshire, Northants and both Cambridge teams) in the same English domestic season. He also played several of Warwickshire's CB40 games as they made it to the final of the 2012 CB40 competition.
But he was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the back in 2013 and, just as it appeared he was returning to full fitness, a very similar injury occured in 2014. After another year, he decided to pursue other opportunities.
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