West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood hasn't been in the starting XI of a Test side since October 2017 owing to his inconsistency. He is now keen to apply a more measured approach to his batting in a bid to turn things around.
The start to Blackwood's career was a rather promising one. He made 63 in his maiden innings against New Zealand in 2014, and scored a fine 112* in his sixth Test, against England in North Sound in 2015. But rather than taking off from there, Blackwood's form wavered and, after a string of low scores, he found himself on the sidelines.
He did play a Test against India in 2019 at Kingston, but only as a concussion substitute, making a gritty 38 in a losing cause. A naturally attacking batsman, Blackwood has been questioned for his approach in the past. While he is determined to retain that style, he is also looking to bat for longer periods.
"Over the years people have got the wrong impression about me, like I'm a ball-beater or whatever," Blackwood told the Press Association. "But it's just natural for me, I'm from the Caribbean, it's only natural for me to score runs. I want to add a little bit more to my game and bat time. I'm really pushing hard for that and I'm really putting the mental work as well in to bat time. Once I bat time, I will score runs.
Blackwood acknowledged that facing the England attack in their home turf is a challenging prospect, but that has only strengthened his resolve to make the most of an opportunity to prove himself.
In the absence of Joe Root, who is awaiting the birth of his second child, Ben Stokes is expected to lead England in the first Test against West Indies.— ICC (@ICC) June 30, 2020
The all-rounder feels he is ready for the challenge 💬 pic.twitter.com/9E9Y0JQH99
"It's been two-and-a-half years that I've been out of the Test team. This opportunity has come out and I have to grab it with both hands. I have something to go out there and prove against all the best bowlers in the world, I want to score runs against them."
"I always love to play against England because they are one of the best teams in the world and they have one of the best attacks in the world as well," Blackwood said.
"Anderson and Broad are two world-class bowlers so whenever I get the chance, once I bat some time against them I know I will score runs. They are wonderful bowlers but once I can wear them down and let them bowl spell after spell, that is going to be the key thing for me in this series."
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!