BRIDGETOWN – Jermaine Blackwood says the region can expect a new and improved player when he eventually returns to international cricket.
Known primarily as a dasher for his aggressive, quick-fire approach to batting, the Jamaican right-hander said he plans to curb that natural attacking instinct so he can play longer innings for West Indies in the future.
"I know that I can bat for long but sometimes I just get ahead of myself and try to play a lot of shots but as you can see, I've kind of curbed my game a little bit more in terms of shot selection," Blackwood said.
"But from the time I was young, I used to bat a lot of balls so I have to just go back to those roots and now. Right now currently, I think I’m on track right now because I’m batting a lot of balls [again] and that is really a plus for me right now."
The 28-year-old was axed from the Test side in 2017 after managing just 15 runs in three innings but it was more the manner of his dismissals which became a frustrating feature of his batting.
Memorably in the Lord’s third Test on the tour of 2017, two rash shots early in his innings caused his downfall for single digit scores as West Indies crashed to a nine-wicket defeat inside three days in the decisive match of the series.
Blackwood, however, signalled a turnaround in form and attitude during the just concluded first class season, finishing as the leading run-scorer with 768 runs at an average of 51.
More importantly, his career-best 248 against Leeward Islands Hurricanes highlighted his ability to spend long periods at the crease, and he said he hoped to incorporate this approach as a new facet of his game.
"I’m fit mentally. I’m in a good place. I’ve worked very hard – once you bat for eight hours you know you have to be fit," he explained.
"I guess right now the place that I am in terms of my cricket, I think I am in a very good place. That innings (248) showed a lot of character …"
Blackwood praised fellow Jamaican and West Indies star, Andre Russell, for helping in his transformation.
"Me and Andre come from a long way – from the time I was small. From when Andre started playing for Jamaica we were friends and … he’s been a big influence in my life,” he noted.
"Like in terms of how I’m playing my cricket now he’s a big influence and I actually put in a lot of work at his house."