ENG v WI 2020: "Stokes was in my ear from first ball"; Blackwood reveals England's sledging

Blackwood also revealed how sledging inspired him to play a match-winning knock for Windies.

Blackwood says Ben Stokes tried to distract him | AFP

Jermaine Blackwood, the talented West Indies batsman, has on Wednesday (July 15), revealed that the England players had been constantly sledging him throughout his innings in the opening Test of the ongoing three-match Test series at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

Blackwood was one of the architects of West Indies’ victory in Southampton, as the Caribbean middle-order batsman scored fighting 95 from 154 balls to help the tourists to chase down the 200-run target and claim a four-wicket win in the first Test and take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series against England.

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Ahead of the second Test at Old Trafford Cricket Ground starting on Friday (16 July), Blackwood revealed that the English players tried to verbally distract him during his match-winning innings of 95 while claiming the stand-in captain Ben Stokes tried to faze him by talking to him through his innings.

While saying Stokes was trying to sledge him in playing a rash shot, the right-hander said England’s attempts to get inside his head at Southampton didn’t distract him, instead, it inspired him to play the match-winning knock to helo his team to win the game.

Blackwood said, “From the first ball the captain Ben Stokes was in my ear. 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. I wasn’t really paying too much attention to that, I was keen on getting the runs and getting my team across the line.”

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He further revealed, “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.” The West Indies were reduced to 27-3 inside 12 overs but Blackwood stitched two important stands with Roston Chase and Shane Downrich to keep his team in the hunt on the final day.”

Blackwood who played 29 Tests so far, added, “I can’t really remember [what was said] but it was nothing bad. That’s cricket, you’ll always hear a bit of talking – that’s how it should be played, in my view. I just like to be in the moment. Pressure doesn’t move me too much. Once I get myself in and get into my zone it’s hard to come out of it.”

Meanwhile, West Indies coach Phil Simmons also lauded Blackwood the way he has shown the maturity and deal with sledging in the best possible way.

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

(With Wisden/The Guardian Inputs)


By Rashmi Nanda - 16 Jul, 2020

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