KINGSTON, Jamaica – Reinvigorated West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood is champing at the bit ahead of the tour of England, and hopes to get the chance to express himself.
The attacking right-hander was named in a 30-man provisional squad for the three-Test series and is expected to be part of the final 25-man squad to be announced this week.
“I want to go back out and play some cricket, but [only] whenever it’s safe to do so,” Blackwood told the Observer newspaper here.
“I’m hoping that the tour of England will get the go-ahead and I will be selected so I can play some cricket. I’m just eager to get back out on the park and play some cricket.”
Following weeks of lockdown here due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 28-year-old Jamaican finally resumed outdoor practice at Sabina Park recently.
And though the new health protocols have posed some initial challenges, Blackwood said he had managed to make the adjustments
“I started to do some fielding work with Andre Coley down by Sabina Park – just one on one,” he explained.
“It’s a little bit different; he has to wear his mask and we try to stay feet apart from each other at all times. It’s a little bit difficult, but it is something that we have to live with until a vaccine [is found].
“Right now we just have to work with whatever guidelines we have.”
Jamaica has been one of the hardest hit English-speaking Caribbean countries by COVID-19, recording 586 infections and nine deaths, but recently began to ease lockdown measures.
Blackwood said he managed to maximize the time during lockdown, however, engaging in intense training along with fellow Jamaica and West Indies teammate, Andre Russell.
“I’ve been training so I’m feeling good all around, mentally and physically,” said Blackwood, who topped the aggregates in the recent West Indies first class championship.
“Not because I haven’t been out playing any cricket, I still feel like I’ve been playing cricket for the last four months.
“I have to give thanks that I have such a good friend and brother like Andre who has a big [home] that has almost everything. So I can do some work in the gym and then I use the [practice] nets and focus on my skills, batting-wise. So that aspect is going good so far.”
Blackwood, who averages 30 from 28 Tests, is trying to revive his Windies career after being dropped in 2017 following a run of poor form.
He was recalled for a single Test last year, when he replaced Darren Bravo as the Caribbean’s first ever ‘concussion substitute’ in the second Test against India at Sabina Park.