What is Tino Best most famous for? The title of his autobiography, Mind the Windows, suggests that Andrew Flintoff's cheeky sledge about Best's batting - he was stumped giving Ashley Giles the charge at Lord's in 2004, as West Indies attempted to see out the final day of the Test for a draw - takes the prize.

Then again, his 95 against England at Edgbaston in 2012 was also pretty memorable. Best briefly held the record for the highest score by a No. 11 in Tests, until Australia's Ashton Agar - "a number six, not a number eleven," Best grouses - waltzed his way to 98 the following summer. More recently, thanks to the serialisation of one of the chapters from his book, entitled "The Playboy Lifestyle", he came to attention for his love of maidens. No, not that kind. As he writes: "I was a man whore."

There are many reasons to remember the name Tino la Bertram Best - not least because of that distinctive, flamboyant "la Bertram" in the middle, which Best claims means "the greatest". Sadly his bowling is not right at the top of the list; and that really is a shame, given that, for a time at least, he was one of the quickest going around.

Despite his relative lack of success at international level, it is impossible not to warm to Best and be impressed by his life story. Inspired by his uncle, the West Indies batsman Carlisle Best, and the example set by his mother and four aunts, Best overcame the apparent disadvantage of being 5ft 8in to open the bowling for Barbados - for whom he has an excellent record - and then West Indies. Capable of getting it through above 95mph, he rubbed shoulders with Brett Lee and Shoaib Akhtar in cricket's fast lane.

Growing up without the influence of his father, who struggled with drug addiction and never saw Best play for West Indies, he overcame rejection at the start of his career, having turned up late for a trial with Barbados Under-19s. Although he wanted to be like Uncle Carlisle - who hooked his third ball in Tests for six and scored 164 against England in Bridgetown in 1990 - Best discovered he could bowl at the sort of speed revered around the Caribbean as "pace like fire".

In his own, inimitable, words: "I was as fast as a raccoon." Hard work in the gym, and on the army base that provided his early employment outside of cricket, meant Best was soon being talked about beyond his native island. He was, however, "a Ferrari without a steering wheel", and it would not be long before he sped off course at one of the many bends in the road encountered over a 15-year career.

After being called up to face Australia at the age of 21, he experienced the unique difficulties involved with representing a collection of countries under one flag. West Indies players are "all from different nations, with different cultures and from different backgrounds", making team spirit harder to build. The fact that he saw Ricky Ponting dropped off his bowling by Shivnarine Chanderpaul - in the gully, where Best observes "there'd be no way" his Barbados team-mate Sulieman Benn would have missed the chance - on his first day in Test cricket did not help. "It was my first big international match and I felt lonely."

There was also the expectation that came with being a quick bowler from a lineage as rich as West Indies'. It was more than a year later that Best bagged his first Test wicket - England's Graeme Thorpe, caught at long leg attempting to hook, at Sabina Park - and his first crack at international cricket seemed to bring rewards inversely proportional to the effort Best put in. "People said I was the next Malcolm Marshall before I'd even played a Test," he writes. "I just wanted to be Tino Best."

This was when Best's off-field performances overtook his impact with bat or ball for West Indies. A father himself at the age of 19, Best cheated on his childhood sweetheart and subsequently decided to enjoy the opportunities afforded by the lifestyle of an international athlete. On a tour of Australia, he was overlooked by the coach, Bennett King. "But I was bowling fast - at night."

It all comes across as slightly cringe-worthy, despite Best's winning smile and apparent good nature. He says he's a deeply religious man, and observes towards the book's conclusion: "I've done a few things that God might not like in my time." He says he is beginning to think about settling down, which might come as a relief to those who prefer to enjoy Best bowling fast in the daytime.

Best's career may have added up to 57 caps and 97 wickets for West Indies but his love for the game pours out, and he certainly left a mark - on Makhaya Ntini, who was struck by his pace as a net bowler on South Africa's 2001 tour; on Flintoff, who provides the foreword to Mind the Windows; on Sachin Tendulkar, who faced Best in his final Test. Yorkshire fans will remember his lung-busting contributions, too, and there are affectionate mentions for his polar-opposites bowling partner, Steve Patterson, and former coach Martyn Moxon.

Best's philosophy is summed up when he discusses missing out on what would have been a remarkable Test hundred in 2012, when he was caught trying to damage the windows again:

"I don't play cricket for records. I enjoy the game and want to make people happy. I want to be spectacular. I want to be awesome… There's a place for consolidating and working round: that's cricket. But I am West Indian and I will be flamboyant. If I'm on ninety nine, I'll try and hit a boundary to get to a hundred. It's just how I think the game should be played."

Tino la Bertram Best wanted to be a great entertainer, and in many ways he succeeded. He should always be remembered for that.

Mind the Windows: Tino Best - My Story
By Tino Best and Jack Wilson
John Blake Publishing
228 pages, £18.99

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick