Tino Best © Getty Images
Tino Best © Getty Images

West Indies cricketer Tino Best, who has been in news after the launch of his autobiography ‘Mind the Windows’, says that cricket in the Caribbean can be improved if the quality of pitches are changed. Best’s words have echoed the sentiments of Darren Sammy, the T20 captain of the West Indies team, who has time and again complained about the flat decks in the Caribbean. Best, who  hit the headlines for revealing about the number of women he has had sex with in his life, has spoken on many critical issues in the Caribbean cricket, and his views on the pitches cannot be ignored. ALSO READ: Tino Best eager to follow footsteps of Malcolm Marshall, Gordon Greenidge at Hampshire

Best told Wisden India in an interview that Caribbean can produce quality cricketers for challenging wickets. He said, “Pitches! That’s it, the talent is there, but the pitches are crap. The pitches will help not only the bowlers, but the batsmen as well. When you go to Australia, you will know what to do if you practice on good pitches. You will know how to leave a ball because you have practiced the bouncing ball.”

Best continued, “On flat pitches, you tend to go after each ball, and when you go to the bouncy tracks, you end up gloving it, or looping the ball in the air. The stadiums (around West Indies) are good, the coaches and facilities have improved from the time I started till now, when I last played. But remember man, cricket is not played in the boardroom or the gym or the pool, it’s played on the pitch. People of the West Indies have the power, so just bring out the pitches, and we will have what we need ready.” ALSO READ: Tino Best replaces injured Fidel Edwards for Hampshire

Talking further, Best spoke about the hunger in the young players for Test cricket. He said, “I have a son who is 15 and a half, and he wants to play Test cricket. Don’t be fooled. Don’t be misled by the people saying Test cricket is dead in the islands. Cricket is in the Caribbean people’s blood. Guys play hard in First-Class cricket.”

“There is Shai Hope, Shane Dowrich, Carlos Brathwaite — all these guys are hungry, man. Test cricket is not going anywhere. I have told my son that you got to get that maroon cap. That’s what’s important, and you got to make it the No. 3 in the family. Uncle Carlisle was 187, I was 251, and now you go out there and get one. I am not letting you just get a T20 or an ODI cap home and be ok with it, man.”

The right-arm pacer claimed that his aim in the life was never to be like the former West Indies pacers Courtney Walsh or Malcolm Marshall, but he wanted to concentrate all his energies on playing Test cricket.

He said, “Look, I played cricket to buy my groceries. Cricket is my breadwinner. Even at 34, I am still the first to go to the gym, I bowl at 90 miles an hour at the nets and I respect the sport because it has given me everything that I have in my life. My goal was never to get 500 wickets like Courtney Walsh, or to be the next Malcolm Marshall. I just wanted to play Test cricket with the energy like my uncle Carlisle (Best), and I feel that I am blessed, and have no regrets, man.”

Best is of the opinion that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) needs some women on it. He said, “The West Indies Cricket Board needs some women on it, I think. When there are too many men making decisions for other men, there will always be jealousy. Some guy will sit and say let’s not pick Chris Gayle because he is making 10 million dollars in the IPL anyway. Women make good decisions. The mother makes the good decisions. The father will always be hot-headed and big chested.”

“Our T20 situation is brilliant, and our players are built for it, because we have the power hitters. Say a Joe Root or a Virat Kohli are great players, yes, in all formats, but can they hit the ball as hard as say, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy or Carlos Brathwaite can? But that apart, Test cricket is important. I love it, and I urge all young players to go for it. Get up and give it all for five days, man. That is real cricket,” Best explained.