Maybe next time!

Maybe next time!

Blackwood says he wanted to make centuries in England

Senior staff reporter

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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WEST INDIES Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood is disappointed he was not able to convert any of his starts into hundreds during the recent 1-2 Test series loss to hosts England.

Blackwood led the West Indies batting against the Englishmen last month, averaging 35.16 in six innings while scoring two half-centuries as the visitors' batsmen — individually and collectively — found the going tough.

“I just backed the way that I play my game and stuck to my process. I think once I can convert those half-centuries into hundreds that would make me more successful, and it will benefit the team,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

The Jamaican had entered the series as the top batsman in the domestic four-day championship last season, tallying 768 runs at 51.20 in 15 innings.

In the opening Test against England, the diminutive 28-year-old player was the prime batting hero as West Indies took a shock, one-nil lead in the three-match series. His back-to-the-wall 95 in Southampton was central to the visitors getting to 200-6 for victory on a wearing pitch.

In the second match in Manchester he struck a second-innings 55, but West Indies slumped to defeat in spite of this though a draw was very much within reach.

And in the final Test, also contested in Manchester, the middle order batsman made 26 and 23 as favourites England won handsomely to reclaim the Wisden Trophy.

In 31 Test matches Blackwood averages a modest 30.84, with only one triple-figure score and a dozen half-centuries.

A lot of his recent success has been attributed to a decision to suppress his instinctive attacking game. However, the talented batsman reiterated the importance of pushing on to bigger scores.

“I work very hard and I always tell myself once I get the opportunity, I'm going to grab it with both hands. Once I can convert those half-centuries into hundreds then my average will go up a bit more,” he explained.

While the West Indies batting was the main shortcoming in England some critics made other strong arguments, particularly regarding team selection.

The Test matches were played in quick succession, with only three days' turnaround between each.

England rotated their quick bowlers, and the fresher legs paid off for them in the second and third matches. Conversely, West Indies stuck to their main seamers who at times, toward the back end of the tour, appeared to be hampered by fatigue.

Blackwood took an optimistic view, arguing that there were signs the current unit could become a formidable one.

“I think the first game was a great start for us as a team. Once we can repeat the way that we played in the first game I think this team is going to be a very dangerous team in the future,” he told the Observer.

“But we take our losses and move on. There were a lot of positives to take from that tour as a team,” he added.

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