Sun | Jul 5, 2020

Blackwood ready for England tour

Published:Saturday | June 6, 2020 | 12:21 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer

It has been almost three years since Jermaine Blackwood legitimately made a Windies senior squad, but if you were to ask the 28-year-old, he would tell you that it was only a matter of time before he would get a crack at international cricket once again.

Blackwood was the region’s most prolific run-scorer this past season, with 768 runs in eight four-day matches, and the right-hander says that he is ready for his second senior tour of England with the Windies, having made the trip in August 2017.

On that tour, Blackwood made 187 runs in the three Test matches, and he says he will be adopting a new approach to batting on this tour.

“People can expect a new-look Jermaine Blackwood on this England tour,” he said. “I am not going there to blast away from ball one like I use to do. I am setting a target to bat as many balls and bat as long as I can because once I am at the crease, I will score runs.”

The evidence of Blackwood’s patience and maturity with the bat has been witnessed so far this season as the Jamaican scored a mammoth 248 runs against the Leewards.

Ironically, Blackwood’s only Test century from 28 matches has come against England right here in the Caribbean, and the Westmorland and Hanover player is hoping that his new-found confidence will bear fruit on tour.

“I have been doing a lot of work in the gym to get a little bit stronger, and I have also been doing a lot of networking with Andre Russell, just recently [with] coach Andre Coley [as well], and I have also been doing some fielding, so I am pretty ready for this trip.

“It’s been a long time since we last played any cricket, so the entire group is itching to go.”

The series against England will begin on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl, followed by Tests at the Emirates Old Trafford on July 16 and July 24.

The Windies team departs for the United Kingdom on Monday.