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Best’s beamer

Disband the West Indies team

At a time when CARICOM is calling for the dissolution of the West Indies Cricket Board, former West Indies fast bowler Tino Best has suggested that the West Indies team itself be disbanded.

Writing in his autobiography Mind The Windows, which is available on order, and from which extracts have been published on ESPNcricinfo, Best suggests that disbandment is the only route for improvement in the Test match format to return to the Caribbean region

But the fiery Barbadian pacer, who has had a chequered international career but a highly successful first-class one, admitted that he couldn’t foresee Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Windward Islands, Leeward Islands and Jamaica making the plunge to go their separate ways.

Best was adamant, though, that if the Caribbean wanted even the slightest possibility of a return to the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s, the individual islands had to go it alone.

“Unless the West Indies disbands and we play as individual islands, I don’t know how things can really change,” he wrote.

“I don’t think the islands will ever go their separate ways but I can honestly say I’d love it to happen.

“Barbados versus Australia, imagine it now. I would love it so much if Barbados went alone and were left to make their way up the ICC rankings.

“If anyone should break away, we (Barbados) should. We’d always play as a unit too. We’d encourage each other, be there for each other, take care of each other.

“The same can’t be said for the West Indies.”

Since the start of 2000, West Indies have played 159 Tests, winning 30 of them, drawing 45 and losing 84. They are ranked eighth in the ICC Test ratings

Best, who played 57 times (25 Tests, 26 ODIs and six T20Is) for the West Indies, gave some anecdotes suggesting the fact that players came from different territories sometimes affected how they related with individual team-mates. While singling out former captain Brian Lara as being very supportive of him, he named others such as fast bowler Mervyn Dillon who he said wasn’t so accommodating. Best also referred to his 2003 debut against Australia when retired Guyanese middle-order batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul dropped a catch off his bowling. 

“I was there, in Barbados, just wishing for my Barbados teammates. And there, in that moment, was one of the huge difficulties in playing cricket for the West Indies,” he wrote.

“You are all from different nations, with different cultures and from different backgrounds. If Suli (Barbados teammate Sulieman Benn) had dropped it, I’d have had guys there putting an arm round my shoulder. We were all Bajans; all in it together. They’d tell me I got the batsman to make one mistake and I could get him to make another. We’d all be together as one.

“Brian (Lara) was supportive … But the others? Not really. It wasn’t even lunch on day one of my Test career and I’d had my first insight into why playing for the West Indies is so hard.

“It was my first big international match and I felt lonely. I felt totally on my own out there. How can this be right?”

Best said Dillon was his senior in the team but never said a word to him or gave him any form of advice.

He noted that the support he received playing county cricket for Yorkshire far outweighed anything he had ever experienced playing for the West Indies.

“They’d (Yorkshire teammates) give me so much support. I love that so much, but it’s so different with the West Indies.

“I’ve run in for the West Indies during Test matches and no one is clapping; no one is encouraging you to give it your all. This is Test cricket, why would you not be doing this?

“Loneliness is a horrible feeling. No player should have to deal with that but it’s been like that for so long.” 

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