Holder on Blackwood: “If I had 12 Blackwoods, that’s all I need”
By Brandon Corlette
After the first innings when Jermaine Blackwood, who is known in the West Indies camp as “Big Dadz”, failed to score heavy and was dismissed making what has been described as a “rogue shot”, many would have questioned his place in the team, especially with Test double centurion and the world’s number one all-rounder, Jason Holder batting at eight.
Some may have called for the inclusion of the extra spinner in Rahkeem Cornwall and the promotion of new and improved wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich and Holder respectively.
Come the second innings when it mattered the most, the lion-hearted Jamaican Blackwood silenced all the surrounding noise with a match-winning 95 on the final day of the historic first Test match post-COVID-19. Blackwood had narrowly missed out on his second Test century after he completed the double of being dismissed in similar fashion – caught at mid-off, attempting to g
o over the top after a brain fade.
Captain Holder, sharing his sentiments on Blackwood’s stellar efforts, noted that the little right-handed Jamaican is simply a team man. “If I had 12 Jermaine Blackwoods, those are the kind of guys I want step on the field with me. These are team guys through thick and thin.”
Holder, who played a lot of cricket with Blackwood, including a Youth World Cup, explained that Blackwood could not be kept in a shell.
“When things happen like how they did in the first innings for him (Blackwood), it is disappointing, but a player like him needs all the support. He is a team man; he is just a humble team man and he puts his team at heart,” Holder explained.
Blackwood, who featured in the Sky Sports Player Zone after his 95, noted that at no point in time he was focused on scoring a century. He had his eyes set on the prize of winning and winning only.
When asked if Blackwood would have played in the starting XI if Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer were on tour, Holder said he would not get into selection, but pulling Blackwood’s number has spoken for itself. The Windies Captain noted that Blackwood had made a strong case for himself after scoring the most runs at the Regional 4-Day tournament, including a double century in one innings.
Holder also gave credit to Shannon Gabriel, who took five wickets in the second inning adding to his four in the first inning, at the virtual post-match media conference. “I’m happy that Gabriel came back well and Blackwood too. They put their hands up and led the charge.
“It was a nerve-wracking start after losing quick three wickets and Campbell to injury. But Roston and Jermaine put on a good partnership and settled the nerves. From there, we could build on.”
Holder is extremely happy with this winning performance, but 10 more days of cricket are ahead. The Test skipper noted that the Test group has matured and he was delighted with the team spirit.
This win in the first Test is not a series win, but perhaps it is the start of something special for the West Indies. The men in maroon deserved all the credit, but heading into the second Test, beginning Thursday, July 16, consistency must be maintained for the Caribbean men to clinch the series. Time will tell where Holder and his upbeat team go from here.