Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Former Scotiabank Kiddy Cricketer Blackwood impresses current crop

Published:Saturday | August 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM
West Indies' Jermaine Blackwood (centre) hits a four off India's Amit Mishra during day one of their second cricket Test match at the Sabina Park Cricket Ground in Kingston on Saturday.

KINGSTON:

IT was day one of the second Test in the West Indies vers India series, and former Scotiabank Kiddy Cricketer, Jermaine Blackwood, was up to bat. It probably felt like déjà vu when he looked up into the stands and saw over 100 Kiddy Cricketers excitedly anticipating his performance. Like them, he had once been sitting in the stands watching the West Indies players taking their place on the field.

Now, a mere 12 years later, Blackwood is setting an example as a role model for these young players, the possible future of West Indies cricket.

The youngsters were delighted as they watched Blackwood salvage a bit of West Indian pride with his contribution of over a half-century ? 62 to be exact ? to the team?s first innings tally of 196.

The Kiddy Cricketers kept avid watch as Blackwood, one of their own, showcased his batting skills. And as they watched, they cheered, clapped their thunder sticks and chanted his name as he delivered fours and sixes.

?He is playing well,? one chimed. ?Jermaine is saving the game,? another noted as Blackwood hit another six. In the end, his contribution was not enough to take the West Indies close to India?s first-innings total of 500 for nine declared, but the youngsters were happy with his performance.

As summed up by one eloquent young man: ?He batted well. He made his 50 and it was a good 50. He didn?t take many chances, didn?t hit the ball in the air too much. He mainly kept his strokes to the ground and played some pretty good shots.?

For many Kiddy Cricketers, this was the first time they had been to Sabina Park and their first time attending a Test match, with some of the top local and international players. The excited Kiddy Cricketers, selected from eight primary schools, also got the opportunity to play in the same arena as many of the cricket greats when they took to the field for their skills display during the lunch break.

16th year of Kiddy Cricket

This is the 16th year of the Scotiabank-West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Kiddy Cricket programme that began in 2000 to introduce children 7-12 years old to the rudiments of the game, while encouraging love and passion for the sport.

Kiddy Cricket is organised across the region and has influenced a number of West Indies players who have passed through the programme, including Kemar Roach and Shai Hope (Barbados), Sunil Narine (Trinidad and Tobago), Andre Fletcher (Grenada), plus women players Hayley Matthews and Shaquana Quintyne (Barbados) and Under-19 players Gidron Pope (St Vincent and the Grenadines), Shamar Springer (Barbados) and Ryan John (Grenada).

Of the 12-member West Indies squad announced for the current India Test series, five of them are former Kiddy Cricketers ? Roston Chase, Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo and Shane Dowrich.

Chase was named as Man of the Match after he made match-saving 137 not out and shared several crucial partnerships in West Indies? second-innings total, 388 for six, on Wednesday.