Jermaine Blackwood reveals he had to block out England sledging

‘From the first ball Ben Stokes was in my ear’: Jermaine Blackwood reveals he had to block out England’s sledging attempts to lead West Indies to first Test victory

  • Jermaine Blackwood scored 95 to lead West Indies to victory in Southampton
  • He resisted England’s attempts at goading him into playing a rash shot
  • His new-found maturity has been praised by Jason Holder and Phil Simmons 

Jermaine Blackwood has revealed how England’s attempts to get inside his head rebounded at Southampton and inspired him to play the innings that won the first Test for West Indies.

Blackwood, the highly-talented but skittish West Indies batsman, resisted England’s hopes of goading him into playing the sort of irresponsible shot that has punctuated a career of more promise than substance to make 95 in West Indies four-wicket win.

‘From the first ball the captain Ben Stokes was in my ear,’ said Blackwood, who might not even have been in the West Indies team at the Ageas Bowl had Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo been available to tour.

Jermaine Blackwood hit 95 to lead West Indies to victory over England in the first Test

He had to block out attempts from Ben Stokes and England players to get into his head

‘I think they were trying to get me to play a rash shot but it didn’t faze me at any point. Once I was at the crease they were the ones under pressure, not me.

‘They knew they couldn’t bowl a loose ball at me. I can’t remember what was said but it was nothing bad. That’s cricket. You’ll always hear a bit of talking and that’s how it should be played.’

Blackwood’s new-found maturity was applauded by West Indies coach Phil Simmons.

Blackwood’s new-found maturity has drawn praise from Jason Holder and coach Phil Simmons

‘I didn’t realise England were doing that but it’s what I would have done too to try to get him irrational,’ said Simmons. ‘But he held his own and played the situation as well as he could. That shows his mindset is improving.’

It was, as West Indies captain Jason Holder told Sportsmail, ‘a career-reviving innings’ for Blackwood, who is now certain to keep his place in what is expected to be an unchanged West Indies team for the second Test at Old Trafford.

‘When I started playing for West Indies I went after the bowling from ball one and didn’t give myself a chance,’ added Blackwood. ‘But now I’ve told myself to give myself more of a chance by batting as long as possible.’

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