Jamaica’s history of producing world-class athletes across different sports is not only well-known globally but also well documented.
Historically, one of the most popular sports played in the island is cricket – a game that is part of the legacy of colonialism and once considered to be the sport of the elites.
Over the years the country has produced some of the best cricket players not only in the Caribbean but around the world. These include players such as, Michael Holding, Jeffrey Dujon, Lawrence Rowe, Courtney Walsh, Collie Smith, Jimmy Adams, Jackie Hendricks, Alfred Valentine, Allan Rae, Maurice Foster, Chris Gayle, and George Headley – arguably not only Jamaica’s best cricketer but also one of the best the world has seen.
The fact is the country has a rich legacy in cricket; therefore, it is not surprising to see a young talented cricketer with a sign of great promise appearing on the cricket scene within the country.
However, much to the chagrin of a star hungry local cricket fan base, too often the appearance of the talented player is short-lived.
Who can forget young players with bright prospects such as, Leon Garrick, Marlon Tucker, Ricardo Powell, Xavier Marshall, Franklyn, Rose, and among others? They came and played, but the game, they conquered not and were put out to pasture, post-haste.
Now, the latest and one of the most talented young cricketers to arrive on the scene is Jermaine Blackwood, touted by many aficionados as one of the most gifted young players in Jamaica as well as the Caribbean, a diamond in the rough as some would cast him.
The 22-year-old Blackwood was born on November 20, 1991. He began honing his cricketing skills at Holmwood Technical High School where he spent three years, two of which he served as captain of the Headley Cup cricket team.
This classy and stylish right-hand batter is not afraid of playing aggressive, attacking, and audacious strokes, resulting in him having scores that ought to be the envy of any budding cricketer around the region.
Although not highly regarded as a bowler, his deceptive right-arm off-break is fast becoming a handful for batters to handle and cannot be ignored or taken for granted – he has many a scalp to prove it.
His all-round skills won him a place in the West Indies Under-19 squad for the 2010 World Cup in New Zealand and in that same year was the first batsman, five years after Guyana’s Leon Johnson to have registered a regional under-19 double century.
In 2012, the Jamaican all-rounder was invited to participate in the Sagicor High-Performance Center (HPC) academy program. He said then, “It’s a wonderful feeling right now and I consider myself lucky to be given this chance. I’m ready to put in the hard work to develop my game.”
Blackwood has already commanded Media headlines such as, “Awesome Blackwood Slams Ton To Put Holmwood In Final,” “Jamaica’s Blackwood Hits Superb 204 In TCL Group Under-19 Tourney,” Blackwood Anchors Jamaica With Undefeated Ton,” “Belligerent Blackwood Saves U-19s” and one of the latest is, “Blackwood Dedicates 100 To Family And Friends.”
Notwithstanding, Blackwood did not have an impressive start in his first-class debut for Jamaica against Guyana in 2012 and moreover was not the first pick in the pecking order subsequently.
However, in 2014 he came rolling back and ended the Caribbean first-class season with 611 runs, more than any other batsman, for an average of 40.73.
Will Blackwood be another flash in the pan cricketer, a one-day wonder, his pedigree suggests not, but as said, the game of cricket is filled with glorious uncertainties.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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