Jermaine Blackwood
Credits: Reuters (The Guardian)

How you define how 2021 went for Jermaine Blackwood depends on what Jermaine Blackwood means to you. If he seems this random smasher of the red ball who plays Tests as though they were some ODIs, you won’t be impressed.

Rather, there’s little to be impressed too. After all, theory is one thing, practicality another. To have ability is one thing, but to have numbers that reflect your ability is something quite other.

To know how to make coffee is one thing, but to taste it for real, something other.

And what can be said in no uncertain terms is that 2021 was a year where the coffee tasted bitter for Jermaine Blackwood.

There were 10 matches, from which he scored 408 runs, at an average of 22.6.

That’s all.

And what went against him was the sudden change he was made to endure and accept and that too, at the very fag end of the year.

Of the Tests he played all year and he did get a fair chance from which to score, Blackwood was sent to open. And that too, on four separate occasions, which means in both Sri Lanka-bound Tests.

In the first game of the final series for West Indies in 2021, he failed. When he should have tried to hang in there, he failed. Remember, he was the vice captain. Remember, he was and still is, alongside Brathwaite, the most experienced batsman.

Nevermind, if being experienced in West Indian clothing in the five-day game means having 2277 runs against your name.

But in the final Test of the series, and this came in very late in the day, since with that game at Galle, the series ended, the real Jermaine Blackwood stood up to make himself counted.

With scores of 44 and 36, he actually compiled 80 runs in the Test match. Believe it or not, these were the most by any batter in his team.

Bonner and Brathwaite came close but Jermaine Blackwood, the makeshift opener found a way to stay in there, to bat by applying himself when others around him simply capitulated.

Actually, how the West Indies performed in Sri Lanka was much like some b-grade school team, barring the solitary fifty (72) Brathwaite provided and the little application shown by the very promising Nkrumah Bonner.

Blackwood, when a lot was expected of him, flunked in the previous two outings in the island nation.

Yet, his makeshift tryst as a man, who opened the inning said something about him. It echoed something strong about a batsman we know for strong hits down the ground and the excellently timed whips and cuts.

The lad has character. Something he didn’t make the most of in what’s been a lukewarm, very underwhelming year.

Yet, something he showed a great deal of a few seasons back, even as recently as the last year.

Forget not something about the uncomplicated Jamaican. He’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get cricketer.

The man, who half a decade back, lent support to Darren Bravo, now a cricketing casualty of strange behavior (and indifferent batting form), to win a game for Windies.

In 2015, against a James Anderson and Stuart Broad-powered attack, Jermaine Blackwood fired 132 runs in all from the Barbados Test. This included his unbeaten 104-ball-47 run knock that took his team home.

Earlier, he had fired a fine 87.

Then, two years later, he’d bat without a helmet and smoke spinners down the ground and compile another valuable gem in the very Test that Hope made historic as Windies won and England were stunned.

There was intent. There were no nerves, but pure self-confidence.

It’s Blackwood’s most potent weapon.

England incidentally was also the scene of his 2020-epic, a magnificent, matchwinning 95 that took West Indies to a great Test match victory.

But sadly, none of the fiery edge and the boldness that we’ve come to associate with Jermaine Blackwood could be seen in 2021.

That’s why how Jermaine Blackwood – vice-captain, cricket ball-hammerer, makeshift opener, usually at number 6 – performed in 2021 can be gauged by what he means for you.

If he means nothing to you or his team means little then let it be.

But if he seems a bit more than a pocket dynamo that can fire-up a lighthouse then perhaps best to say, he’s still got a lot in him to give. He’s 30.

A lot left to bat on for, a lot to reflect on. Which is why a lowly 2021, albeit with sparks of character would mean Jermaine Blackwood means something for you…for 2022 and beyond.

Jermaine Blackwood in 2021

MatchesRunsHighest ScoreFiftiesAverageNot outs
10 40868222.60

Jermaine Blackwood at #6 in Tests

InningsRunsHighest ScoreFifties, 100sAverageNot outs
45 of 77 (overall)1445 (2241)11210, 2354


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