Tino Best: in the wilderness
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What a difference seven months can make. In May, Tino Best, the 22-year-old Barbadian pace bowler, was on the crest of a wave - 39 wickets in the domestic Carib Beer Series earned him a Test call-up against Australia and his future looked bright. But his debut was unimpressive - he took 0 for 99 as West Indies slumped to a nine-wicket defeat - and then he fell out of favour with the Barbados selectors, failing to be picked for any matches in this season's Red Stripe Bowl.
Too add to Best's problems other bowlers came through as his star waned -most notably Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor - and he now finds himself out in the wilderness. But he is not depressed, and as he told the Nation newspaper, he is not downbeat about what has happened to him.
"I did not have the most successful Test match but I thought I had done well enough this year that I should have got an overseas tour with the West Indies," he said. "That did not work out and I have to look ahead."
Best's first aim is to win back his place in the Barbados side, and he has been training hard in a bid to do so. He is also keen to dispel suggestions that he was a flash in the pan, accusations fuelled by the fact he didn't come through the traditional age groups. "I think when my critics criticise me they have to look at my performances for Barbados. I played in 11 games for them and I have 50 wickets already and I think that is excellent, coming into first-class cricket without any name. I don't think it's any rise and fall.
"I think I have performed badly in one game in my whole life and that is my Test match, and yet people are crying me down saying that `I get too big'."
But Best admitted to The Nation that there is one area of his game which continues to concern him - his tendency to bowl beamers. "I think sometimes when I am bowling I get so excited that I just want to bowl fast," he explained. "If it comes over like I am doing it on purpose, it is not that way. I am not doing it on purpose."
The news that Taylor had been forced out of the South Africa tour might have given Best the encouragement to spend even more time in the gym, even though he was overlooked once again. His time will surely come.