By Akeem Greene
Since returning to the West Indies Test team as a concussion substitute in place of Darren Bravo in August 2019, Jermaine Blackwood has scored 465 runs at an average of 42.27.
His best is 104 against New Zealand in Wellington last December, to go along with three half centuries, batting mainly at number six.
Prior to the role of concussion substitute on India’s Caribbean tour, the Jamaican had not played Test cricket since October 2017.
His unexpected call generated only 38 runs, but the conversation with the prolific Virat Kohli was the biggest prize.
Kohli, who has scored over 7,300 Test runs at an average of 53.41, with 27 hundreds and 23 fifties, advised the Jamaican on the importance of spending time in the crease if he wants to convert his starts.
“I spoke to Virat Kohli a few times on social media because the last time India toured the Caribbean I was there in Jamaica subbing, so after the game I only had a small chat, ”Revealed Blackwood in the Virtual presser on Wednesday.
“I asked him how all the time, I have many half centuries and only one century, and he said what are you when you score the century? How many deliveries are you facing? I said I faced 212, he said, well that’s it, once you can bat some balls, you’re going to score runs. “
In the final season of the Regional Four-Day Championship, Blackwood beat the most runs (768) at an average of 51.20 and the best of 248 to go in six half centuries.
“I always say to myself after that conversation, once I can bat over 200 balls, I’m going to score runs because once I’m there and the way I play I’m I’m going to score runs no matter who I play or where I play. ”
The second Test ton was over five years from his debut, made against England in Antigua, and he had all the signs for a promising Test career ahead of him. However, inconsistently selecting damaging shots, he was labeled the next untapped Caribbean talent.
There was a hunger to compensate and a serious effort was made to improve fitness to bring in better performances.
“As I was on the sidelines looking forward for three years, I had some time to reflect on my game, how I played [and] how I was getting out. I went back and trained really hard; I started training twice a day, hitting the gym every day, putting in a lot of hard work trying to get as fit as possible, and trying to get back as strong as possible and you can see the result. ”
“One of the things I changed was my photo choice [and] I’m better. I am beginning to understand my game and that is positive for me. ”
His compatriot Andre Russell has also offered advice on what is needed to improve consistency.
“We talked a lot about myself not scoring more runs or not going on to score more runs, and that’s something I need to improve and as you can see I’m improving on that in slow. ”
“When I started playing for the West Indies, I was young and excited so my batting style was just playing a lot of shots to put the pressure on the bowler, but what I learned is that you can’t do a hundred in over or two. , you have to spend hours in the crease. “
The 29-year-old player further noted that he has reached out to Shubman Gill’s growing Indian talent since the days of the A team.
“Me and Shubman usually have some conversations over Instagram. I know him personally from when we played against him in team series A. We talk and he seems to be a very cool guy and one for India in the future for sure. ”
With many West Indies first choice Test batsmen absent from the trip to Bangladesh, the confident Blackwood will be under extra pressure to score hundreds in both Tests.