Blackwood promises improvement

first_imgBRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC): 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 the Windies 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. 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.” FRUSTRATING FEATURE 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 that 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 the Windies 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 runscorer, with 768 runs at an average of 51.More important, 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 said.“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 Windies 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,” Blackwood said.“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.”last_img read more

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Lehmann tips Smith and Warner to shine for Australia in World Cup

first_imgMELBOURNE,  (Reuters) – Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann expects Steve Smith and David Warner to play a big role in their title defence on their return to international cricket at the World Cup. Smith and Warner have returned from year-long bans following a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa which also prompted Lehmann to step down as coach of the side in March last year.The top order duo made impressive return from elbow surgeries for their respective franchises at the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament and Lehmann was convinced they will shine at the World Cup in England and Wales.“Smith at number three or four, he’d be exceptional at the World Cup,” Lehmann told Macquarie Sports Radio. “People are worried about the break they’ve had with 12 months out, but you see them in the IPL performing and making runs.“David Warner is an excitement machine, at the top of the order, he can set it alight.“If he has a really good tournament, he set us on the road to winning a lot of games in the last World Cup. If he does it again at the top of the order with Aaron Finch, they’ll be hard to stop.” Warner, who will never captain Australia for his role in the scandal in South Africa, looked particularly impressive at the IPL finishing as its leading scorer with 692 runs from 12 innings that included nine 50-plus scores.In his absence, Finch and Usman Khawaja have formed a steady opening partnership for Australia but Lehmann expected Warner to slot back at the top of the order.“Opening with Finch and Warner, I think that’s a certainty,” the former Australia all-rounder said. “And then there’s Khawaja or Shaun Marsh at three I’d think and Smith at four – this is your top four.”last_img read more

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