Blackwood happy with preparation in intra-squad match
GROS ISLET – Jermaine Blackwood said this week’s West Indies intra-squad four-day match has been important for his preparation for the South Africa Test series, especially following a lean run against Sri Lanka recently.
Blackwood was named vice-captain of the provisional 17-member squad announced on Friday for the two-Test series, beginning next week, struck an entertaining 85 in the first innings and followed up with 22 in the fixture, which ended on Thursday at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG).
After managing only 42 runs from four innings in the two-Test series against the Sri Lankans last March, Blackwood explained the key to a return to form was spending time at the crease.
“In the Sri Lanka series, I really didn’t bat any time,” he said. “I didn’t really spend much time at the crease, so I just tell myself that I just want to bat as many balls as possible.
“Most of the time, once I bat over a hundred deliveries, I normally score runs, so I just tell myself once I bat over 100, 150, 200 deliveries, I know I’m going to score runs.
“I wasn’t really looking to score runs. I was more like trying to bat as long as possible.”
Blackwood has been one of the leading West Indies batsmen since the resumption of international cricket last August following the break for COVID-19, averaging 35 on the three-Test tour of England and 54 on the two-Test tour of New Zealand.
In Bangladesh earlier this year, he averaged only 28 amid the Caribbean side’s stunning two-Test series sweep.
Blackwood, who captained the losing side in the intra-squad match, said the fixture had been important, especially with the quality of players involved.
“We have the best 30 red-ball players here, and as you can see, we have some very good talent,” said Blackwood, who averages 30 from 37 Tests.
“We have some very good young batters as well and some good bowlers as well, and I think they went out there and showcased their talent very [well].”
He said: “It’s very good for our cricket to see that we have a lot of young fast bowlers, and we have a lot of batsmen [ready] to step up and come through as well.
“Some of the guys got a taste of it to see what the next [stage] is going to be like and I think it’s a learning experience for everybody and for them as well and once they learn, it will be all good.”
The first Test between West Indies and South Africa begin on Thursday at the DSCG.