Blackwood gifts emotional century to young son
Report and Photography by Akeem Greene in Barbados
A night before Jermaine Blackwood scored his third Test century, he told his five-year-old son that he would do it for him, and so he delivered an early birthday present with a splendid 102 against England at the Kensington Oval on Friday.
“I went to look for my son last night [Thursday] and he said, Daddy, I saw you on the TV, and he said, I am your biggest supporter, and I said, I have to put on a special knock for him because my son is a Bajan…I actually told him I am going to score a hundred, I told him tonight [Friday] he can watch the TV and see his dad,” a visibly elated Blackwood told the media Friday afternoon.
Blackwood’s century, his second against England, made it West Indies’ day as they reached stumps on 288-4 in response to England’s 507-9 declared.
The Jamaican played a key role in a 183-run stand for the fourth wicket with captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who ended the day on 109 not out.
To a large degree, it was an uncharacteristic innings by the usually flamboyant shot-maker, and the change in his modus operandi was linked to the “pressure” to score heading into this Test.
Furthermore, it was the slowest of his three tons, coming off 207 balls, and had 11 fours.
His best in nine innings prior was 55 against Pakistan in August 2021, and after scores of 11 and two in the first Test in Antigua, this innings was deeply important.
“Very emotional, coming into this game,” the West Indies Vice-captain stated.
“I felt a bit of pressure, although the captain and all my teammates have faith in me. I felt pressure and I wanted to score runs for my team and I told myself that I have to go out and bat over 200 balls and I know once I do that, I know I will score runs.”
He added, “I actually cried after I made that century because I know how special it feels to me.”
Fate was certainly in his favour, as from England opting not to review a leg before chance, him being bowled off a no-ball, Blackwood rode his luck, and revealed he breathed a sigh of relief when he was bowled off a no-ball from debutant Saqib Mahmood.
“I don’t really worry about the chances, cricket is all about chances and when you get that chance, you have to bat for long. I take pride in that because I got a few today [Friday], but I put that behind me and I scored big.”
The secret to success by the two leaders of the Test unit is the love for batting with each other and a hunger to score a plethora of runs.
Though the current situation in this Test hints at a draw, Blackwood felt “any cards” can still be dealt with in this encounter.