Discipline driving consistency in regional tourney, says Blackwood

Discipline driving consistency in regional tourney, says Blackwood

BY SANJAY MYERS
Senior staff reporter
myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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FLORENCE HALL, Trelawny — Jamaica Scorpions batsman Jermaine Blackwood says a more disciplined approach is behind his consistent returns up to the halfway stage of the regional four-day cricket tournament.

On Sunday, his breezy, second-innings 38 ignited the home side's drama-filled victory charge against Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium.

In the first innings, a more controlled knock had been required from the 28-year-old player. He delivered just that, scoring 98, his fourth half-century in five matches.

The out-of-favour West Indies Test batsman, often berated for injudicious stroke play, went to bat at the fall of the first wicket and hardly put a foot wrong throughout his measured first-innings effort against the Hurricanes.

Of significant note was his preference for hitting the ball along the carpet. Rarely did he unfurl the trademark booming, aerial drive down the ground.

“It was a pretty good innings; the pitch was still good for batting. Their bowlers, for most of the day, put the ball in the right areas and forced us to apply ourselves,” Blackwood told the Jamaica Observer.

“From the start of the season I've been challenging myself to bat 200 balls in the first innings, and play as few balls in the air as possible. So far it has been going good, so I'm just sticking with that to see how I can get some runs. Once I bat some balls I always score runs, so that's just really my plan right now,” he continued.

Blackwood made a second-innings 78 against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, 76 in the second innings versus Windward Islands Volcanoes, and a first-innings 81 in the contest with Guyana Jaguars.

His only double failure came in the third-round loss to Barbados Pride, an encounter in which he made one and four.

Though he has batted at four a few times, his best performances have come at three. Only twice has he failed to pass 50 when he has gone out with the fall of the first wicket.

“I think I'm in a good space right now, scoring some half-centuries and stuff. It's just to continue scoring runs for the team. Once I score runs I think the other guys will fall in line. And overall, I think our batting is doing pretty well this season,” the Jamaican player said.

The innately free-scoring batsman credited the Hurricanes pace bowler Sheno Berridge for deceiving him with a crafty slower ball that trapped him leg before wicket.

“It [the pitch] was playing pretty good; the ball was coming onto the bat. But he [Berridge] tricked me, I never really picked that ball,” Blackwood explained.

He told the Observer that narrowly missing his first century of the campaign was a bitter pill to swallow, but one he has to move on from.

“It hurts [to be dismissed so near to a century] because no one wants to get out in the 90s, but it does happen in cricket. I just have to refocus and come again. Once I get the chance to bat I have to just apply myself like I did in the first innings here,” he said.


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