Blackwood ‘one for the future’ - Sir Viv says after Jamaican's maiden Test ton
NORTH SOUND, Antigua (CMC):
West Indies legend Sir Vivian Richards has likened Jermaine Blackwood to "a bit of Collis King", and believes the young Jamaican has the making of a "good batsman in the middle" for the West Indies in the long-term future.
Sir Viv, one of the greatest batsmen of all time, was speaking on the 29th anniversary of his world-record 56-ball century against England at the Antigua Recreational Ground.
He was on hand to see Blackwood score his maiden Test match century, an unbeaten 112, on the third day of the opening Test here yesterday.
"He reminds me sort of a guy like Collis King, a kind of batsman with that wonderful natural ability, who can play the big, strong shots, but can also bat you out of a difficult situation," Sir Viv said.
"He has the ability to play those 'big' shots ... he's a very confident young man ... but today, we saw a different kind of Jermaine. They bounced him and made life a little uncomfortable, but he fought through that situation and proved he's got guts and strength ... you need that to make it in Test cricket."
Sir Viv added: "He did hit some big shots into the crowd and that takes some ability and I was really pleased to see he stuck to his guns and played his natural game. But he also settled down and pulled the team out of trouble and that was great to see.
"I definitely believe we have the kind of individual we are looking for in terms of someone who can hold down a spot in the middle order for West Indies where Test cricket is concerned."
Blackwood entered the contest yesterday's second day and played superbly, facing 220 balls in 5-1/2 hours at the crease, hitting 14 fours and two sixes.
It was the 23-year-old's ninth innings in his sixth Test match, since making his Test debut last year against New Zealand.
Sir Viv had a hand in Blackwood's recent development when he worked with the West Indies A Team against Bangladesh A in the Caribbean and against Sri Lanka A overseas.
"He's a very confident young man and he plays with that West Indies style and I like that," said Sir Viv, one of West Indies finest ever captains.
"There are some rough edges which need to be ironed out where his batting is concerned, but he's new to Test match cricket, he's just played a handful of games, but there is a lot to like about him and I'm happy to see he made his breakthrough today."